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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 31


    BOTTLE: 1740-1850; ENGRAVING: DIZHOU, 1850-1910

    Price Realised  


    BOTTLE: 1740-1850; ENGRAVING: DIZHOU, 1850-1910
    Of compressed ovoid form with a flat lip and concave oval foot surrounded by a footrim, engraved on one main side with a bird in the branches of a blossoming fruit tree and on the other with a poetic inscription in running script, followed by a dedication, 'For the elegant enjoyment of His Eminence Mr. Hou'an', and the signature Dizhou zuo ('Made by Dizhou'), the engraved details all filled with gold pigment, glass stopper with silver collar
    1 in. (5.0 cm.) high

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    The poem may be translated as:

    In spring we roam through fragrant plants and bushes;
    In summer we enjoy ponds with their green lotuses;
    In autumn we drink chrysanthemum wine;
    In winter we chant poems about white snow.

    This poem is by Wang Zhu, who earned the jinshi (the highest civil service examination) degree in 1100, and is contained in Wang's Shentong ji (Prodigal Child Collection). This poem was popular during the Qing era, as it was included in Liweng duiyun (Poems Set to Matching Rhyme Schemes by Liweng [Li Yu]), by Li Yu (1611-1680), a famous dramatist, fiction writer and poet.

    Dizhou zuo may refer to Shi Dizhou, a scholar-official who lived during the Daoguang period. It is likely that Shi Dizhou composed the poem and commissioned the bottle for Mr. Hou'an as a gift.

    Several Qing era figures seem possible for 'Mr. Hou'an', including Zhang Qinzai, Shao Daye, Cao Benrong, Yang Yuebing (1822-1890) and Xie Lansheng (1804-1898).

    From the late-Qianlong period onwards, glass bottles were regularly inscribed with poems, sometimes with additional dates or individual names. This trend gradually began to intrigue the scholar class from the mid-Qing onwards, resulting in occasional engravings on glass by individual artists - although the literati tended to prefer softer materials such as soapstone, wood, gourd, coconut shell, etc. By the end of the Qing dynasty, under the influence of such engravers as Zhou Honglai, a small group of artists specialized in engraving glass, often with miniature scenes and inscriptions.


    Christie's East, New York, 29 November 1994, lot 292
    Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd.