In both design and style, this bottle is typical of enamels made for the Court at the Guangzhou workshops from the Yongzheng period onwards. The Guangzhou enamelers tended to employ a wash instead of the technique of stippling that was used at the Palace workshops in Beijing.
See R. Kleiner, Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Mary and George Bloch, no. 9, for a similarly enameled example with a continuous design of peonies and a diaper brocade; and R. Kleiner, Treasures from the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect, no. 6, for a double-gourd-shaped bottle. As on this bottle, the flowers are painted in a more naturalistic style. See two similar bottles from a set in the Palace Museum, Beijing, both decorated with a tied sash over a floral ground, one included in the exhibition catalogue Tributes from Guangdong to the Qing Court, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1987, p. 88, fig. 52, and the other illustrated in Snuff Bottles. The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, no. 153. Another Guangzhou enamel snuff bottle with a design of a sash tied around the body against a ground of formalized bats, and formerly from the J & J Collection, was sold in these rooms, 30 March 2005, lot 10.
The design of the tied sash is associated with the Court and suggests precious objects, wrapped as if for presentation. It also symbolizes longevity through a pun on the Chinese characters for "tied sash" and "long life." The peonies are a symbol of wealth and prosperity, as mentioned in the note to lot 211.
The rules governing regular tribute to the Court from distant artistic centers are not entirely clear. Unquestionably some unmarked wares were made for presentation as tribute, but it also seems likely that the enamelers co-opted to produce work for the Court, either as a direct order from the Emperor, or as tribute ordered by local officials, would also have produced somewhat similar wares for a local, private market.