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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 273

    **A RED OVERLAY "SNOWSTORM" GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

    PROBABLY IMPERIAL, PROBABLY PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, 1760-1820

    Price Realised  

    **A RED OVERLAY "SNOWSTORM" GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
    PROBABLY IMPERIAL, PROBABLY PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, 1760-1820
    Of flattened form with flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a footrim, one main side carved through the transparent ruby-red layer with, on one main side, circular panels of a caparisoned elephant supporting a tasseled vase and on the other with a Buddhist lion supporting its cub, its left forepaw atop a ball with trailing ribbons, the narrow sides with mask-and-ring handles, jadeite stopper with vinyl collar
    2 23/64 in. (6.0 cm.) high


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    The combination of ruby-red overlay, mask-and-ring handles and two popular Imperial subjects suggests manufacture at the Palace glassworks in Beijing.

    The elephant stands for strength, wisdom and intelligence. The vase represents eternal harmony. Together, the characters for "elephant" and "vase" form the rebus taiping youxiang (May there be a peaceful reign). Carvings of elephants with vases on their backs were put beside the throne to symbolize universal peace.

    The lion and its cub also symbolize the most honorable ranks in the civil service, as the first character in the Chinese name for lion (shizi) is homophonous with the word meaning "teacher." Here, the larger lion (dashi) represents the Grand Tutor (taishi) and the cub (xiaoshi) signifies the tutor to the heir to the throne (shaoshi). The symbolism of the imagery on this bottle would have made it suitable as an Imperial gift for holders of these ranks or for those aspiring to such lofty positions.

    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.


    Provenance

    Hugh Moss Ltd.


    Exhibited

    Canadian Craft Museum, 1992.