On the side painted with the two figures, the inscription can be translated as:
"Along ten thousand miles of the Yangtze River
Waves tumble and roll
The red lantern of the Revolution
Shall be passed along."
The allegorical text on the reverse side of the bottle outlines Li Yu and his daughter Li Tiemei's patriotic feats during the Japanese invasion in the 1940's, which were immortalized in the modern Communist propaganda Beijing opera Hongdeng Ji, ("Tale of the Red Lantern"). In the play, Li Yu, a railroad worker and a member of the underground Communist movement, was assigned to deliver a secret telegram through the underground organization to resistance fighters in the Northern mountains. Because of a traitor, Li Yu was arrested by the Japanese army before he could deliver the message. In light of the urgency, Li Yu's elderly mother tells all to his previously uninformed daughter. Fuelled by anger and love for her country, Tiemei decides to continue her father's work, but unfortunately soon both she and Li Yu's mother were also arrested by the Japanese. Hatoyama, the lieutenant in charge, tortured and sweet-talked the Li's in hope of Tiemei's resignation and cooperation, but all to no effect. In the end, Hatoyama ordered the execution of Li Yu and his mother, but Tiemei still refused to co-operate. Hatoyama then let Li Tiemei go, and sent spies to trail her to obtain the secret message. Luckily, Li Yu's mother had revealed to her the secret location of the communication headquarters just before they were arrested. With the help of her neighbors, Li Tiemei was able to elude her followers and find the headquarters, ultimately leading to the resistance fighters' victory in eliminating Hatoyama's army in Beishan.
This extraordinary documentary bottle by Wang Xisan was painted just before he was sent from Beijing in 1967 at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. Sent to Hebei, and needing to keep his continuing artistic skills concealed, he adopted a new seal which he later used to designate the Ji School he founded in Hebei. The use of the anonymous seal yin (seal) served a similar purpose in his identity, and all that refers to the artist himself is the common family name "Wang".
The bottle, with its multiple ring handles running down each narrow side, was probably made at the Court during the Qianlong period. See an amber-brown glass bottle with very similar ring handles, illustrated in Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 784.