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JINGDE ZHEN, 1820-1860

JINGDE ZHEN, 1820-1860
Of rounded form, painted with a continuous mountain landscape scene with the Eighteen Luohan, each shown with his individual attribute, the entire design set between single line borders, the foot inscribed in regular script Da Qing Yongzheng nian zhi (Made during the Yongzheng period of the Qing dynasty), turquoise stopper with glass collar
2 1/16 in. (5.3 cm.) high
Marjorie Inman
Sotheby's, New York, 20 January 1977, lot 21
Robert Hall (London, 1977)
Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. I, no. 227
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
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.

Lot Essay

Luohan (also known as arhan or arhat) are Buddhist enlightened beings who act as worldly conduits to the state of infinitely expanded consciousness granted by their enlightenment. Numbers vary in Buddhist iconography, but a group of eighteen was eventually established as the standard Chinese grouping which became popular in later-Chinese art, appearing in a wide variety of media.
Blue-and-white porcelain snuff bottles bearing reign marks of the Kangxi and Yongzheng Emperors are never genuine, and even many Qianlong-marked examples are later products. Porcelain snuff bottles were not made in any quantity until the Qianlong period, and were only made in large quantities from late in the reign. Rather surprisingly, it is likely that blue-and-white snuff bottles were not the first to have been made in quantity, despite the very long tradition of such wares at Jingde zhen, and were not manufactured in large quantities until the early-nineteenth century. Once production began, it was perhaps a natural tendency to backdate products to the Kangxi and Yongzheng periods, both of which were famous for fine blue-and-white wares. Such apocryphal marks appear to have been in response to a new interest in collecting old bottles, which took hold during the Daoguang period, augmented by an increasing number of foreign collectors after the first Opium War gave them greater access to China. The shape of the present bottle suggests it dates to the Daoguang period. It is a particularly fine example of the type, with sharp, fine line drawing combined with confident washes and complete technical control.
Another blue-and-white porcelain bottle of this design, also with an apocryphal Yongzheng mark, is in the collection of Denis Low, and illustrated by R. Kleiner, Treasures from The Sanctum of Enlightened Respect, p. 192, no. 165.

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