This bottle represents the early Yangzhou style of enameling. It is possible that the turquoise-blue glass bottle may have been sent down from the Palace Glassworks in Beijing, as stripped of the enamels, the shape, color and quality of the glass bottle fits squarely in with a range of glass bottles made in Beijing. For details of the various centers of enameling which produced wares for the Court in the mid-Qianlong period, see H. Moss, "Mysteries of the Ancient Moon", JICSBS, Spring 2006.
The style of the early Imperial orders from Yangzhou were obviously drawn from Guyue Xuan wares produced at the Court, and a number of the earliest are on colored glass, reflecting this influence (see, for instance, a Guyue Xuan enameled blue glass snuff bottle, made at the Palace Workshops, and formerly from the J & J collection, sold in these rooms, 22 March 2007, lot 40). A related example of a Yangzhou turquoise glass bottle enameled with flowering branches, from the Ko Family Collection, was sold in our London rooms, 14 June 1971, lot 44, also with a red Qianlong seal-script mark. Enameled glass bottles produced at Yangzhou are usually marked either with a pale iron-red Qianlong reign mark in seal script, typical of distant production for the Court, or with a similarly pale iron-red Guyue Xuan mark, also in seal script.
The crane is a symbol of longevity, and the inclusion of fives cranes may represent the Taoist concept of the Five Phases, rooted in the cycles of yin and yang, and linking the five elements (water, wood, fire, metal and earth) to various natural cycles and phenomena. The prunus symbolizes fortitude in adversity and, in particular, the idealized scholar-official.