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    Sale 2026

    Important Chinese Snuff Bottles From The J&J Collection, Part V

    17 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 43

    **A VERY RARE AND IMPORTANT INCISED WHITE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

    IMPERIAL, COMPLETED AT THE PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, 1760

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    **A VERY RARE AND IMPORTANT INCISED WHITE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
    IMPERIAL, COMPLETED AT THE PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, 1760
    Of flattened form with flat lip and recessed, flat rounded-rectangular foot surrounded by a footrim, with a layer of opaque white sandwiched between two transparent layers, carved with raised panels on each side, the two main sides incised in regular script with two parts of a couplet reading 'Moon white and pure as ice, it keeps aromatic vapor and remains unsullied', followed by Qianlong yuzhi ('Made by Imperial command of the Qianlong Emperor') and on the other, '[Like] frost and snowflakes, it embodies the very essence of elegance' followed by 'Composed in the gengchen year' (corresponding to 1760), the narrow sides with mask-and-ring handles, enameled porcelain stopper painted with a floral design, gilt-metal collar
    2 3/8 in. (6.03 cm.) high


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    The yuzhi ('by Imperial command') mark appears as a part of the decoration rather than as a reign mark on the foot of the bottle. This is a form more commonly used by the Qianlong Emperor when composing poems for specific works of art. The likely reason for the unusual placing of this mark is that the Emperor wrote the couplet himself and ordered it carved on the bottle. The date on one panel is inscribed nian ti ('year composed') rather than nian zhi or nian zao ('year made').

    The subject of the couplet is the snuff bottle upon which the inscription is written, which imitates a fine piece of white nephrite, with simple raised panels and archaic mask handles which would have appealed to the Emperor (see the footnote for lot 77 for a further discussion on the Qianlong Emperor's taste for archaism). It seems likely that the inscription was added at the Palace workshops, so the most likely source of the glass bottle is the Imperial glassworks at Beijing, although the Qianlong Emperor may have used Imperial designations on wares from other centers where he had specifically ordered them.

    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

    Galia Baylin
    Sotheby's, New York, 3 October 1980, lot 40
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd.


    Literature

    Snuff Bottles of the Ch'ing Dynasty, p. 70, no. 727
    JICSBS, Autumn 1989, p. 18, fig. 1
    Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 2, no. 348
    Arts of Asia, November-December 1998, p. 74, fig. 10


    Exhibited

    Hong Kong Museum of Art, October-December 1978
    Christie's, New York, 1993
    Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1994
    Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, 1996-1997
    Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1997
    Naples Museum of Art, Florida, 2002
    Portland Museum of Art, Oregon, 2002
    National Museum of History, Taipei, 2002
    International Asian Art Fair, Seventh Regiment Armory, New York, 2003
    Poly Art Museum, Beijing, 2003