This is the only known bottle with a Ruyi Guan mark. The Ruyi Guan was a design studio situated close to the eastern Fuyuanmen of Yuanming Yuan. A number of workshops were set up from the Yongzheng reign onwards to allow for production at the Yuanming Yuan, the Emperor's favorite home, to compliment production at the Forbidden City workshops. The Ruyi Guan was one of them, acting as a center for design and production of a range of works of art, and a place where painters and architects worked alongside other craftsmen.
The use of the mark indicates an unusual Imperial product and it may have been made as a gift to the Emperor. We know that from 1724 onwards, on certain annual festival occasions, the Imperial workshops presented the Emperor with works of art which have been conceived by the artists of the Imperial workshops as gifts to, rather than by order from the sovereign. This unique bottle may have been such a piece. For another early incised glass bottle, see the example formerly from the J & J Collection sold in these rooms, 22 March 2007, lot 67.
The poem carved on the bottle was excerpted from Jixi fengseng ("For the Monk on the Western Peak") by the Tang-dynasty poet Zhang Ji. It reads:
"Amidst the dim pine trees one can hear water dripping
Though it is late at night I cannot sleep
The moon lingers about the Western Peak
As I savor distant memories in front of the hamlet."