The double-gourd was a popular form for snuff bottles. This bottle is one of several known examples of white glass double-gourd-shape decorated with famille rose enamels on an enameled yellow ground. All of these examples were made in the Beijing Palace workshops during the Qianlong period, and all display different combinations of flowers. There are two other such snuff bottles from the J&J Collection, illustrated by Moss, Graham & Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, 1993, pl. 189 (decorated with morning glory vines and bats) and pl. 191 (lilies and roses). Cf. a few other examples, one illustrated by Bob C. Stevens, The Collector's Book of Snuff Bottles, no. 968; one illustrated by Robert Kleiner, Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Mary and George Bloch, no. 14; one of a pair illustrated in The Barbara Hutton Collection of Chinese Porcelain, p. 9; and two in the Beijing Palace Museum, one with peonies and the other with chrysanthemums, both illustrated in Snuff Bottles, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 2003, pl. 13.
Enameled glass snuff bottles are very rare when compared to the number of metal and porcelain enameled bottles, most probably because of the difficulty in controlling and firing the enamels perfectly on glass. The different colors of enamel would not all have reached maturity at the same temperature, which prompted Ye Bengqi to fire different colors in separate operations (see Hugh Moss, 'The Apricot Grove Studio. The Ye Family of Snuff Bottle Artists', part 3, JICSBS, Autumn 1985, pp. 116-130). Although it is not certain that the Beijing Palace workshops arrived at the same solutions as the Ye family, they would inevitably have encountered most of the same problems. One problem they might have faced were the enamels that were over-fired on one part of the vessel, while other enamels were only just reaching maturity. If the temperature became too high, the glass body would soften and collapse, and this is evident in the number of enameled bottles which have clearly slumped in the firing. Here the bottle has settled very slightly to one side.
The gourds from this group of bottles exhibit a wide variety of different shapes. This one, for instance, has a distinctly larger upper bulb than most in relation to the lower bulb and a quite different balance from other known examples. The glass bottles were not simply blown into a standard mold, but they were obviously individually made.