Ma Shaoxuan (1867-1939) was one of the most technically accomplished artists of the Beijing School of snuff-bottle painting. Founded by Zhou Leyuan, The Beijing School included other leading artists such as Ding Erzhong, Ye Zhongsan and Zi Yizi. The present bottle is particularly special because it was painted in 1894, the first year from which works by him have survived (although he is known to have painted earlier). It is one of only a handful of known bottles the artist created in this year. Another bottle painted in this same year and from the Ruth and Carl Barron Collection of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles was sold at Christie’s, New York, 13 September 2017, lot 295.