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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 286

    AN INSIDE-PAINTED CRYSTAL SNUFF BOTTLE

    ATTRIBUTED TO THE YE FAMILY, APRICOT GROVE STUDIO, BEIJING, DATED TO THE APRICOT MONTH OF THE BINGCHEN YEAR, CORRESPONDING TO 1916

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN INSIDE-PAINTED CRYSTAL SNUFF BOTTLE
    ATTRIBUTED TO THE YE FAMILY, APRICOT GROVE STUDIO, BEIJING, DATED TO THE APRICOT MONTH OF THE BINGCHEN YEAR, CORRESPONDING TO 1916
    Of compressed form with flat lip and recessed, flat foot surrounded by a footrim, depicting scenes from the Liaozhai zhiyi, one main side decorated with two female attendants in a chamber with a window overlooking a garden, one woman holding a cymbal while another stands by a qin on a table, a male servant holding a lit candle nearby, the other main side with a young man in a tree looking down upon three women in a garden, inscribed in draft script, Composed in the Apricot [second] month in the bingchen year [1916] by Ma Shaoxuan, with seal, Yin, carnelian stopper with silver collar
    2 19/32 in. (6.6 cm.) high


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    This extremely unusual bottle was painted by the Ye family, but signed "Ma Shaoxuan" (1867-1939), a snuff-bottle master represented by lot 253. The Ye family may have been commissioned to paint a bottle copying one by Ma, but the artist did not adapt his style to imitate Ma's, and merely inscribed Ma's signature.

    From 1913 Ye was joined in his studio by his eldest son, Ye Bengzhen, and shortly thereafter by Ye Xiaofeng, so in 1916 the work could have been done by Ye himself, or by one of his two sons. It is also possible that they worked together to produce bottles. See Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 4, Inside Painted, no. 645, for a discussion on Ye Zhongsan and his sons.

    The Liaozhai zhiyi (Strange Tales Recorded by the Studio of Idle Talk) is a collection of love and ghost stories first published in 1679 (see V. Mead, "A Guide to Chinese Snuff BOttles from the Liao Chai Chih I," JICSBS, September 1980, pp. 1-37). The Ye family drew heavily upon this popular work for its subject matter.

    Provenance

    Robert Hall, London.


    Literature

    Robert Hall, Chinese Snuff Bottles II, London, 1989, no. 28.
    V. Meade, "A Guide to Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Liao Chai Chih," JICSBS, September 1980.


    Exhibited

    Robert Hall, London, "Chinese Snuff Bottles II", October 1989, no. 28.