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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 298

    **A VERY RARE INCISED BLUE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

    IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, KANGXI TWO-CHARACTER MARK AND OF THE PERIOD, 1696-1722

    Price Realised  

    **A VERY RARE INCISED BLUE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
    IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, KANGXI TWO-CHARACTER MARK AND OF THE PERIOD, 1696-1722
    Of flattened form with flat lip and recessed, slightly convex oval foot surrounded by a footrim, both main sides with a raised circular panel with incised decoration, one with fenghuang with a peony sprig in its beak, the other with a sixteen-character inscription in regular script, the narrow sides incised with bats suspending rings, Kangxi two-character mark on the base, coral stopper with silver collar
    2 21/64 in. (5.9 cm.) high


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    This snuff bottle is one of two known pieces of Kangxi glass with an Imperial mark (although three pieces of enameled glass are also reign-marked from the period). The other is a faceted clear glass waterpot in the Imperial collection in Beijing, published in Luster of Autumn Water. Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, pp. 114-15, no. 1. Heavily crizzled sapphire-blue glass, as here, is consistent with glass of the Kangxi and Yongzheng periods and was among the first colors produced by the Imperial glassworks after they were set up in 1696. Up to the 1730s, the formula for most transparent glass contained an imbalance of chemical components that resulted extensive crizzling and glass disease. The opacifying agents in more translucent glass, such as white and yellow, protected the glass from these initial problems. The Imperial workshops were established at Canchikou in the Imperial city under the direction of the Jesuit missionary Kilian Stumpf (1655-1720). German glassmakers were proficient in engraving glass, so it follows that European stylistic and technical expertise was imparted to the artisans responsible for this bottle.

    See a faceted blue glass snuff bottle attributed to the late Kangxi or early Yongzheng period, formerly in the J & J Collection, and sold in these rooms, 29 March 2006, lot 80; and another with raised circular panels on both main sides, in Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 785.

    The fenghuang represents prosperity and great blessings, and in combination with the peony, forms the rebus, fugui jixiang (May there be wealth, rank and good fortune). In addition, when the "king of birds" is paired with the "king of flowers," they provide a symbol for great blessings.

    The inscription on the reverse from Cao Cao's Duangexing (Short Songs) may be translated:

    "Youyou" the deer cries,
    Grazing on the wild rushes;
    I have a guest;
    Drums roll and the reed pipe blows.

    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.


    Literature

    E. Byrne Curtis, "Vitreous Art: Colour Materials for Qing Dynasty Enamels", Arts of Asia, p. 97, fig. 2.