See Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 4, Inside Painted, nos. 579 and 626, for a discussion of Ma Shaoxuan's career. While the subject of a monkey seated on a tree is more frequently associated with works produced by his elder brother, or by Ma Shaoxian, his nephew, who worked with him and often produced works under his name, the quality of the painting on this bottle is extraordinary, and the subject far more complex than the usual design of single monkey, confirming the hand of the master himself. In undertaking the subject of monkeys himself, Ma has produced one of the great masterpieces of his career - equal in every way to his series of monochrome portraits. Not only is the subject unique, always a good sign of the hand of the master himself with his finest works, but the scope and complexity of the composition is extraordinary. Like the finest of his small series of similarly complex landscape scenes (as opposed to the simple, repeated, workshop designs), if blown up to the size of a painting and isolated from the bottle, this would rank as a serious Chinese painting, whereas the workshop versions of a single monkey would not.