Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
**A RARE AND FINELY CARVED RED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
**A RARE AND FINELY CARVED RED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

POSSIBLY IMPERIAL, ATTRIBUTED TO THE BEIJING PALACE WORKSHOPS, 1760-1800

Details
**A RARE AND FINELY CARVED RED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
POSSIBLY IMPERIAL, ATTRIBUTED TO THE BEIJING PALACE WORKSHOPS, 1760-1800
Of tapering ovoid form with recessed foot, carved on one side with a katydid resting on a Chinese cabbage (baicai), the other side with another katydid perched atop its open gourd cage, the top removed and set in front of it, the sides of the bottle with small mask-and-ring handles, jadeite stopper with pearl finial
2¼ in. (5.8 cm.) high
Provenance
Arthur Gadsby (Hong Kong, 1978)
Literature
100 Selected Chinese Snuff Bottles from the J & J Collection, no. 98
J & J poster
JICSBS, Autumn 1989, front cover
Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. II, no. 359
Exhibited
Christie's, London, October 1987
Christie's, New York, 1993
Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1994
Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, 1996-1997
Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1997
Naples Museum of Art, Florida, 2002
Portland Museum of Art, Oregon, 2002
National Museum of History, Taipei, 2002
International Asian Art Fair, Seventh Regiment Armory, New York, 2003
Poly Art Museum, Beijing, 2003
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

Emblematic of courage, katydids and crickets were popular at every level of society in China, valued for their merry chirping and some species for their fighting prowess.
The design of a katydid, often on its cage, was particularly popular during the mid-Qing period, from the late-Qianlong reign into the early nineteenth century, and subsequently became one of the popular motifs on Imperial Daoguang-marked porcelain snuff bottles. The exceptional quality of the carving and the impeccable finish on the present bottle suggest a date from the Qianlong reign, when glass carving at the Court was at its peak. An earlier date of manufacture is also suggested by the crizzling of the glass on the interior, a characteristic of Palace glass from the Kangxi period but also occurring occasionally on Qianlong glass, and, rarely, on some nineteenth-century Imperial products.
The unusual, rather brownish, ruby-red color of the glass here may have been intended to imitate flawless amber. The 18th-century Court took pleasure in all things novel, which included the concept of teasing the eye by creating imitations in glass of other materials. Because of the versatility of glass in this respect, it was often used to simulate such materials as amber, various hard stones (jade, jadeite, crystal, amethyst, beryl, aquamarine, etc.) and realgar among other materials. The Yongzheng Palace Archives mention "amber [glass] cups with carved decoration" (see Yang Boda, "A Brief Account of Qing Dynasty Glass," Chinese Glass of the Ch'ing Dynasty 1644-1911, The Robert H. Clague Collection, p.78).
For a discussion on the small masks and their circular rings as a possible Palace feature of the mid-Qing period, see Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 347.
The Chinese pronunciation of the word for "katydid" (guoguo) sounds the same as that for "country." The rebus is interpreted as jinzhong baoguo, meaning "to be loyal to one's country." Such a pun would have been a subtle and effective way of reminding officials of an essential tenet of Confucian government.

More from Important Chinese Snuff Bottles From The J&J Collection, Part IV

View All
View All