Overview

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**A SUPERB BEIJING ENAMEL SNUFF BOTTLE
**A SUPERB BEIJING ENAMEL SNUFF BOTTLE

IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, QIANLONG BLUE ENAMEL FOUR-CHARACTER MARK AND OF THE PERIOD, 1736-1770

Details
**A SUPERB BEIJING ENAMEL SNUFF BOTTLE
IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, QIANLONG BLUE ENAMEL FOUR-CHARACTER MARK AND OF THE PERIOD, 1736-1770
Very finely enameled with a continuous landscape scene with an elderly scholar seated under a willow tree on a rock, one arm resting on a nearby branch and the other on his knee, wearing a tall black hat and long, flowing robes, with two books to his left, with two young attendants, one shown arranging flowers in a vase while the other returns from picking flowers, the entire scene set within formalized lingzhi-head, lotus petal, and leaf borders, the exposed metal at the neck and the foot gilded, the base inscribed in regular script Qianlong nian zhi (Made in the Qianlong period), the gilt-bronze stopper possibly original and decorated with a formalized floral design with integral finial and collar
1 7/8 in. (4.82 cm.) high
Provenance
Mrs. Elmer Claar
Parke Bernet, New York, 2 December 1969, lot 82
Alice McReynolds
Sotheby's, Los Angeles, 31 October 1984, lot 80, front cover
Hugh M. Moss Ltd.
Literature
JICSBS, Autumn 1984, p. ii
Sotheby's Newsletter, September 1984, p. 3
Sotheby's Newsletter, October 1984, p. 7
Christie's, London, 15-16 June 1987, p. 155
Christie's International Magazine September-October 1987, p. 7
Arts of Asia, September-October 1987, p. 147
100 Selected Chinese Snuff Bottles from the J & J Collection, no. 15
J & J poster
Christie's, London, 12 October 1987, a.m., p. 61 and p.m., p. 44
JICSBS, Autumn 1989, front cover
Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. I, no. 176
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

Lot Essay

One of the great masterpieces of the medium, this bottle is almost certainly by the same hand as lot 4. Although the present bottle depicts a Chinese subject, the figures on both bottles are remarkably similar, each displaying an identical perfect blend of line and illusionist shading. See, for example, the use of outlines on the robes of the two dandies in lot 4, particularly the one with the blue coat, and the bold use of black on each bottle as a solid block of color to depict specific objects as well as to lend formal weight to the composition. Most compelling, however, is the technique used in painting the faces, all of which are partly outlined in sepia and then washed on one side to give an illusion of shadow. The lips in both cases are also similarly described with a single red line for the upper lip and a small dot beneath for the lower. The facial personalities of all the figures are also very close, as evidenced by the slightly quizzical expressions of the scholar and the European girl.
Both bottles also display superbly arranged compositions making effective use of the figures in leading the eye. Both have the same sense of a specific significant moment frozen in time by the artist, and both are continuous scenes framed by a shallow foot border and a deeper neck and shoulder border.

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