Details
AN ENAMELED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
WANG XISAN, BEIJING, 1964
The bottle is decorated overall with lushly flowering peach branches bearing two large, ripe fruit on either side, all set on a yellow ground beneath a blue key-fret band on the neck. The base has an apocryphal Qianlong mark.
2 1⁄8 in. (5.5 cm.) high, bronze stopper
Provenance
Bob C. Stevens Collection, no. 1029.
The Bob C. Stevens Collection of Fine and Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II; Sotheby’s New York, 26 March 1982, lot 77.
Rachelle R. Holden Collection, New York.
Literature
H. Moss, Chinese Snuff Bottles Number Four, London, 1966, p. 41, color pl. M.
B. Stevens, The Collector's Book of Snuff Bottles, New York, 1976, no. 1029.
R. Holden, Rivers and Mountains Far From the World - The Rachelle R. Holden Collection, A Personal Commentary, New York, 1994, pp. 72-73, no. 23.
Exhibited
Tokyo, Mikimoto Hall, An Exhibition of Chinese Snuff Bottles From The Bob C. Stevens Collection, 22-31 October 1978, cat. no. 370.

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Lot Essay


Born in 1938, Wang Xisan (Wang Ruicheng) was the star pupil of Ye Bengqi, the son of Ye Zhongsan, the artist who revitalized the Beijing school of painting in the late 1950s. Ye Bengqi took up the art of enameling again in the early 1960s to teach Wang Xisan, and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish earlier Wang Xisan bottles from those of his teachers, or, in some cases, from earlier Qianlong examples. The two-character reign mark in seal script seen on the present bottle was only used on enameled wares in the early 1960s. Compare to a floral decorated bottle of similar form on white glass from the J&J Collection illustrated in H. Moss, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, J&J Collection, vol. 1, p. 355, no. 207. It is also notable that the attribution of the current bottle to Wang Xisan was confirmed by Rachelle R. Holden in written correspondence with the artist.

For a further discussion of the artist Wang Xisan, see Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, the Mary and George Bloch Collection, Volume 6, Part 1, Hong Kong, 2008, pp. 273-275, where the authors note: “As an artistic genius, Wang rapidly became one of the finest of all enamellers, both artistically and technically, that China has ever produced.” The artist paints glass snuff bottles and interior-painted snuff bottles, showing great artistry in both. The present example is typical of the quality of his painting on glass. Generally executed in famille rose enamels with floral subjects beneath a decorative border, his works echo the best enameled bottles produced at the imperial workshops during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. The decoration of the current bottle is based on a Qianlong-period prototype. (Fig.1)
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