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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 26



    Price Realised  

    Of compressed form with flat lip and recessed, flat oval foot surrounded by a footrim, carved through the transparent red overlay to the bubble-suffused milky-white ground with a Manchu bannerman on a galloping horse on one side, the other side with a couplet in raised regular script, 'The finger of Heaven's majesty makes a clean sweep of evil influence', followed by two seals, Shu and Zhai, ('Common Studio'), the foot signed in relief and in regular script Xinya, coral stopper carved with a chi dragon, with pearl finial and glass collar
    2 in. (6.47 cm.) high

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    The theme of a mounted bannerman was a popular one during the mid-Qing, appearing occasionally in overlay glass, and more often in relief-carved agate or jasper. For a bottle very similar to this one, see R. Kleiner, Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Mary and George Bloch, no. 112, which bears the same poem but has no signature on the base. For another example, see Robert Hall, Chinese Snuff Bottles, no. 15.

    The Manchu army was organized into eight banners. These were distinguished by flags of different colors: yellow, white, red and blue, each with or without a border. The clue for the meaning of the bannerman subject is offered by a chalcedony example in the Imperial Collection (see Snuff Bottles in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, no. 335), the foot of which bears the title 'Picture of Victory', implying that the commemoration was of a particular victory and of bringing the news to the Emperor. The Qianlong Emperor was particularly successful in some of his military campaigns, and it is possible that the overlay on this bottle coincides with the most important military victory of his reign. Between 1757-1759, the Emperor conquered Ili and Turkestan, securing the western borders against the threat of the Mongols and Turks.

    The 'finger of heaven' in the couplet refers to the Emperor and 'evil influences' had been persistent with incursions and rebellions taking place on the north-west frontiers of the realm.

    H. White in Snuff Bottles from China. The Victoria and Albert Museum Collection, p. 59, also suggests that the design may represent the phrase mashang ping'an ('immediate peace').

    The extremely rare signature on the foot of this apparently Imperial glass overlay is a sobriquet, meaning 'Fragrant cliff', and cannot be identified with any particular individual. It and two other seals denoting the studio name, may indicate a gift for a particular individual, perhaps involved with victory, but they may also be generic terms simply to lend a literati feel to the work of art.

    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.


    Hugh Moss


    JICSBS, December 1977, p. 23, no. 40
    Snuff Bottles of the Ch'ing Dynasty, p. 63, no. 49
    100 Selected Chinese Snuff Bottles from the J & J Collection, no. 59
    J & J poster
    Gazeta de l'Antiquaire, June-July 1988, p. 1
    JICSBS, Autumn 1989, front cover
    Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 2, no. 375
    Asian Art, September 1999, p. 13, fig. 18


    Hugh M. Moss Ltd., London, September 1974
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, October-December 1978
    Christie's, London, October 1987
    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