Recent scholarship argues that a distinctive group of glass bottles was produced in Yangzhou for the Court between the 1767 construction of the Guyue Xuan Hall in the Qianlong Emperor's Summer Palace and his death in 1799. Hugh Moss discusses several examples in "Mysteries of the Ancient Moon," JICSBS, Spring 2006, pp. 31-32. It is now accepted that bottles of this type bearing either the Qianlong reign mark or the Guyue Xuan hallmark date from these years.
Yangzhou enamels are thinner and applied in a more painterly manner than those on wares executed by the Beijing workshops. An enameled glass snuff bottle painted in a similar palette and in a comparable style, with both the Qianlong and Guyue Xuan marks common to the Yangzhou group, formerly from the Meriem Collection, was sold in these rooms, 19 September 2007, lot 610.
The scene with the butterfly and the hibiscus suggests longevity, since the sound for the character butterfly, die, sounds the same as that for septuagenarian or octogenarian. The hibiscus, or mallow, follows the suns path during the day, representing loyalty to the Emperor. The decoration on the other side, with its katydid and chrysanthemums, evokes the delights of autumn.