The inscription may be translated as:
Like Guang Ping's steely character, its blossoms emerge under the brush;
Like Gu She's ice-like flesh, its beauty is worthy (of praise) in poetry.
Guang Ping is the sobriquet of Tang minister Song Jing (663-738). He was famous for his upright and steely character, and was not afraid of speaking his mind even at the risk of offending the emperor. He loved prunus blossoms and once composed a poem, "An Ode to Prunus", in praise of the flower's character. Gu She is a legendary goddess with snow-like complexion and incredible beauty. She is often compared to prunus blossoms, especially white prunus.
This bottle is ascribed to the group of flawless white nephrite bottles derived from the work of Lu Zigang, the famous sixteenth-century Suzhou jade carver. As here, the bottles characteristically exhibit low-relief carving of calligraphic inscriptions paired with motifs common to literati painting. For a discussion of Lu Zigang, see Moss, Graham and Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 28, where the authors illustrate a flawless white nephrite snuff bottle also with blossoming prunus as its principal decorative motif, although the style of relief calligraphy is different. Another snuff bottle inscribed Zigang, formerly from the Rachelle Holden Collection, was sold in these rooms, 21 March 2000, lot 212. Another closely related white jade snuff bottle formerly from the Meriem Collection, but bearing the signature of the eighteenth century carver, Zhiting, was sold in these rooms, 19 September 2007, lot 621.