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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 292



    Price Realised  


    Of compressed form with flat lip and slightly concave foot surrounded by a flat footrim, decorated in famille rose enamels with a continuous design of blossoming peonies in pink, blue and violet contained within a loosely knotted sash decorated with a scrolling, formalized floral pattern, the neck encircled by a narrow band of red enamel against a lavender-blue ground and above a formalized floral border, the outer footrim decorated with bands of iron-red, blue and black, the foot covered with a pale, mottled green enamel, gilt-metal stopper
    1 59/64 in. (4.9 cm.) high

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    In both design and style, this bottle is typical of enamels made for the Court at the Guangzhou workshops from the Yongzheng period onwards. The Guangzhou enamelers tended to employ a wash instead of the technique of stippling that was used at the Palace workshops in Beijing.

    See R. Kleiner, Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Mary and George Bloch, no. 9, for a similarly enameled example with a continuous design of peonies and a diaper brocade; and R. Kleiner, Treasures from the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect, no. 6, for a double-gourd-shaped bottle. As on this bottle, the flowers are painted in a more naturalistic style. See two similar bottles from a set in the Palace Museum, Beijing, both decorated with a tied sash over a floral ground, one included in the exhibition catalogue Tributes from Guangdong to the Qing Court, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1987, p. 88, fig. 52, and the other illustrated in Snuff Bottles. The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, no. 153. Another Guangzhou enamel snuff bottle with a design of a sash tied around the body against a ground of formalized bats, and formerly from the J & J Collection, was sold in these rooms, 30 March 2005, lot 10.

    The design of the tied sash is associated with the Court and suggests precious objects, wrapped as if for presentation. It also symbolizes longevity through a pun on the Chinese characters for "tied sash" and "long life." The peonies are a symbol of wealth and prosperity, as mentioned in the note to lot 211.

    The rules governing regular tribute to the Court from distant artistic centers are not entirely clear. Unquestionably some unmarked wares were made for presentation as tribute, but it also seems likely that the enamelers co-opted to produce work for the Court, either as a direct order from the Emperor, or as tribute ordered by local officials, would also have produced somewhat similar wares for a local, private market.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.