Although the subject of formalized flowers on a yellow ground was common to both the Palace workshops at Beijing and on Guangzhou wares for the court, the style was generally different. The standard northern style tended to be simpler and more powerful, while its southern counterpart was more complex and ornate, often using a greater range of filling colors within outlined areas, such as scrolling vines and leaves. Like the snuff bottle in lot 212, this bottle exhibits the Guangzhou tendency to elaborate on Beijing decorative motifs in a novel manner.
The lotus is a symbol of harmony in marriage as well as a Buddhist symbol of purity as the perfect flower emerges from mud and murky waters. The overlapped lotus petals used as decorative borders here are derived from the bases of Buddhist sculptures from the sixth century onwards which are usually surrounded by a series of registers of petals opening up to the Buddha or other Buddhist figure seated above. The bat (fu) forms one of the most popular rebuses in Chinese art as it is a pun on the word for "blessings."
See the note to lot 212 for a discussion of this group of enameled snuff bottles made for the court at Guangzhou, and where a similar example with a Yongzheng mark in black enamel is noted (V. Jutheau, Guide du Collectionneur de Tabatières Chinoises, p. 55). An unmarked example with a stylized petal motif on its foot, also with similar painted decoration is illustrated by Moss, Graham and Tsang, in The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 181.