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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 232

    **A VERY RARE ENAMELED PORCELAIN SNUFF BOTTLE

    IMPERIAL, JINGDE ZHEN KILNS, JIAQING FOUR-CHARACTER MARK IN IRON-RED SEAL SCRIPT AND OF THE PERIOD (1796-1820)

    Price Realised  

    **A VERY RARE ENAMELED PORCELAIN SNUFF BOTTLE
    IMPERIAL, JINGDE ZHEN KILNS, JIAQING FOUR-CHARACTER MARK IN IRON-RED SEAL SCRIPT AND OF THE PERIOD (1796-1820)
    Of compressed form with flat lip and flat foot, each main side finely painted in famille rose enamels with poppies and asters, the narrow sides with formalized floral scrolls reserved against a lime-green ground, the mouth and panels edged in gilt, the foot inscribed with a four-character mark in iron-red seal script, Jiaqing nian zhi (Made in the Jiaqing period), coral stopper with gilt-metal collar
    2 3/16 in. (5.6 cm.) high


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    The present bottle is part of a well-known group of bottles, made for the Court, usually in sets of ten or twenty, to supply the enormous and constant supply of bottles required for the Imperial family and for distribution as gifts.

    The poppies found in Chinese art do not replicate species native to China, but ones which were probably introduced as a weed-seed, or in the case of the opium poppy, imported for its medicinal value from Central Asia. The poppies depicted on the present bottle are the corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas, or Flanders poppy), or Yumeiren (Beauty Yu) or Lichunhua (Beautiful spring flower). According to legend, the Yumeiren variety is named after the favorite concubine of the famous warrior Xiang Yu (223-202 BC). Xiang Yu's concubine followed him into battle and committed suicide after his death. A corn poppy is believed to have grown from the ground saturated with her blood.

    See Snuff Bottles in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, p. 128, no. 92, for a set of five bottles with an identical design. This bottle is probably from the same set of bottles, as it has the same dense border design around the neck. Two other examples with almost identical design are illustrated by J.G. Ford, in Chinese Snuff Bottles. The Edward Choate O'Dell Collection, no. 157; and by L.S. Perry, in Chinese Snuff Bottles. The Adventures and Studies of a Collector, p. 85, no. 67. See also, Perry, ibid., nos. 78, 85, 89, 90 and 91, for other examples with a similar design and Jiaqing mark. A snuff bottle of flattened quatrefoil form in the Palace Museum, is illustrated in Masterpieces of Snuff Bottles in the Palace Museum, p. 160, no. 163. It seems likely that an original set of ten or twenty was partly distributed or broken up later form the Imperial store, with five remaining in the Imperial Collection, and the surviving bottles from the rest of the set distributed around the world.

    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, Vancouver, 1992.