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**A FINE CARVED RUBY-RED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
**A FINE CARVED RUBY-RED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

1770-1830

Details
**A FINE CARVED RUBY-RED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
1770-1830
Of rounded-rectangular form with a recessed foot, the body of richly colored ruby-red glass, each side with a raised rounded-rectangular panel, one carved with a low-relief image of a Buddhist luohan, probably Damo (Bodhidharma) seated on a mat meditating in front of a rock-face from which a tree grows, tangled with creepers, one seal adjacent shan (mountain), the other panel with a sage strolling on rocky ground, a hoe over his shoulder, from which dangles a ribbon tied around a stalk of lingzhi, with two seals, Xiao and shan, together reading "Small mountain," glass stopper carved as a coiled chi dragon
2 5/16 in. (5.9 cm.) high
Provenance
Dawson Collection, Channel Islands
Christie's, South Kensington, 10 June 1999, lot 201
Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd.
Exhibited
Dawson Collection, Channel Islands
Christie's, South Kensington, 10 June 1999, lot 201
Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd.
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

Ruby glass was a staple at the Palace workshops. In Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, p. 18, it is suggested that during the early years of the Imperial glassworks, from 1696 into the early decades of the eighteenth century, it might have been a closely guarded secret at the Imperial glassworks, slowly leaking out to other workshops over time.
At first glance, this intriguing bottle would appear to resemble a small group of monochrome glass bottles from the hand of Li Junting, two of which are in Imperial yellow (Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 857, and one in the Franz Collection, Hong Kong). This is an impression encouraged by the use of the small seals. The seals used here, however, do not appear on any other Li School wares, and although there is another monochrome ruby-red bottle known which is by Li Junting (see H. Hui, M. Polak and C. Sin, Hidden Treasures of the Dragon, no. 217) exhibiting a similar subject of Bodhidharma meditating and facing a rocky "wall," the style is quite different, as are the two aforementioned yellow glass bottles, both of which show Bodhidharma meditating. Another feature which distinguishes the present bottle from the others is the style of the masks. Although the rings are elongated here, in a rather typical Li-School manner, the masks are very well detailed, as would be expected on Beijing Imperial wares; Li's mask handles are, on the other hand, distinctive and much simpler, and more abstract. In Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, p. 18, it is suggested that there are some links between the early wares of Li Junting and the Beijing style of the late-eighteenth century, and indications that he worked for the Court. It is proposed that Li may have trained in Beijing, working either for or at the Court, and then set up his own workshop in Yangzhou, in which case it is possible that this bottle may be a very early work by him.
The subjects here combine Buddhist iconography with Daoist, contrasting the typical image of Bodhidharma, or Damo, the first Chinese patriarch of Chan Buddhism who sat facing a wall for nine years in order to attain enlightenment, and a Daoist sage gathering lingzhi, the fungus of immortality.

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