A CARVED PINK AND GREEN OVERLAY WHITE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
A CARVED PINK AND GREEN OVERLAY WHITE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

1770-1850

Details
A CARVED PINK AND GREEN OVERLAY WHITE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
1770-1850
The flattened bottle is decorated on both sides with a blossoming pink begonia plant with lush green leaves.
2 5/8 in. (6.7 cm.) high, hardstone stopper
Provenance
Jean Gellis, Paris.
Christie's Paris, 21 December 2009, lot 212.
Ruth and Carl Barron Collection, Belmont, Massachusetts, no. 5047.

Brought to you by

Margaret Gristina
Margaret Gristina

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Lot Essay

The begonia (qiuhaitang) has long been an esteemed garden plant in China, often planted on rockwork and used as ground-cover in small areas of shade. It is associated with feminine qualities because of its preference for cool, shady places, and there is a legend that a spot watered by the tears of a woman deserted by her lover suddenly sprouted begonias to console her.

The sound tang in the name of the begonia (qiuhaitang) was probably intended to evoke the idiomatic expression yutang fugui ("[May your] magnificent hall [be filled with] riches"). The begonia is commonly linked to the magnolia (yulan) to elicit the sound of the first half of this expression. The peony, "the king of flowers," represents prosperity, and is associated with the upper classes of society.

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