A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE IMPERIAL FAMILLE ROSE-ENAMELED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE IMPERIAL FAMILLE ROSE-ENAMELED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE IMPERIAL FAMILLE ROSE-ENAMELED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
2 More
A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE IMPERIAL FAMILLE ROSE-ENAMELED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
5 More
A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE IMPERIAL FAMILLE ROSE-ENAMELED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, QIANLONG FOUR-CHARACTER INCISED SEAL MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)

Details
A MAGNIFICENT AND EXTREMELY RARE IMPERIAL FAMILLE ROSE-ENAMELED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, QIANLONG FOUR-CHARACTER INCISED SEAL MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
The bottle is superbly enameled on either side with a shaped panel, one with a scene of two birds perched on flowering branches, the other with two butterflies flying amidst flowers, all reserved on a gilt ground.
2 in. (5 cm.) high, gold stopper
Provenance
Li Daohong Collection, Shanghai (by repute).
Zhang Zhongyin (b. 1889) Collection, Shanghai.
Zhang Tungyu Collection.
Robert Hall, London, 1995.
Rachelle R. Holden Collection, New York.
Literature
Robert Hall, The Art of an Imperial Addiction, London, 1995, pp. 34-41, no. 5.
Exhibited
London, Robert Hall, The Art of an Imperial Addiction, 21 June 1995.

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Margaret Gristina (葛曼琪)
Margaret Gristina (葛曼琪) Senior Specialist, VP, Head of Private Sales New York

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Lot Essay


The current bottle is amongst the finest examples of famille rose enamel on glass snuff bottles of the Qianlong era. The birds and flowering plants are rendered in a stunningly realistic manner. By this time in the eighteenth century, the Palace Workshops had mastered the application and firing of enamels on glass, as evidenced by the workmanship on this bottle. Enameled glass snuff bottles appear to be more rare when compared to the number of metal and porcelain enameled bottles, most likely because of the difficulty in controlling and firing the enamels perfectly on glass.

A discussion of this early group of enamel on glass snuff bottles was recently published in, H. Moss, Early Qianlong Palace Enameled Glass, JICSBS, Winter, 2021, Hong Kong, pp. 6-25, where the author discusses assigning a date of 1736-1739 to this type, including the near-identical example to the present bottle in the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect, the collection of Denis Low (fig. 9, left), stating:
"The group is characterised by panels of formalised floral designs, or in some cases more realistic floral designs, sometimes including birds on branches, set on coloured grounds…The upper example, from the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect, is one of the rare group on a gold ground. By far the largest group of these remains in the Imperial collection contained in a three-tiered Japanese lacquer box now containing forty-three examples, all with engraved seal-script marks. The box is mentioned in the Qianlong archives for the fourth year of the reign, at the beginning of the year 1739, where it is delivered to the enameling workshop, complete with most of its bottles, but with an empty compartment in the upper tray, which had only eleven bottles. The total for all three trays at that time came to thirty-nine pieces. The missing bottle is ordered replaced, and instructions are given to make four more, with a subsequent exchange resulting in the replacement of two others; when complete, in the tenth month of the same year, there are forty-three bottles, the number today. The bottles must have been made, therefore, between 1736 and the beginning of 1739 at the latest, but given that by early 1739 they were already boxed as a set and one bottle was already missing, they are likely to date from the first year or two of the reign. The instruction from 1737 regarding adding reign marks to wares from then on might further narrow down the date of production to 1737 or 1738. The four character seal script marks of the boxed set are also found on other palace products from the early Qianlong reign, although the standard for enameled glass was soon thereafter established as a blue enamel, regular-script mark.” A similar snuff bottle in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated on the previous page. (Fig. 1)

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