This bottle is decorated on either side with a stylized mallow, a symbol of loyalty to the emperor as the head of the mallow follows the path of the sun all day, and the sun is associated with the emperor. This motif was ideal for bottles presented by the emperor to his officials, reminding them of their duty of loyalty.
This particular combination of ruby-red overlay on white glass was relatively popular at the Court for obvious reasons. For this same subject in a variety of glass overlay bottles, see Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 889 for a more formalized red overlay on colorless bubble-suffused glass bottle; no. 964 for an example with dark olive-green overlay on pink glass; and no. 975 for an example with milky white glass overlay on bubble-suffused pale sapphire-blue and biotite sandwiched glass. A golden-yellow overlay on glass example, formerly from the J & J collection, was sold in these rooms, 29 March 2006, lot 47.