Well-known group of bottles of that kind were made in some quantity for the court and usually in sets of ten or twenty bottles. Snuff bottles were given as gift within the Imperial family. Compare with individual examples with a jade calyx in Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese snuff bottles, vol.1, Jade, no.70 and in the exhibition catalogue Chinese Snuff Bottles, A Miniature Art from The Collection of Mary and George Bloch, 18 march 1994 - 8 june 1994, Hong Kong, 1994, no.29.
See a comparable example with a jasper calyx illustrated in Snuff Bottles - The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong 2003, p.139, pl.203.
See also a similar snuff bottle sold in our New York Rooms, The Meriem Collection, Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, 19 September 2007, lot 667.
The eggplant is seen as a symbol of fertility as it is a fast-growing fruit and it has numerous seeds. Apart from its ovious symbolism, the form of the fruit would have lent itself well to connoisseurs of snuff bottles ; its shape providing a pleasant experience as it was clasped in the hand.