Wang Xisan, dated 1969 (the bottle 1770-1850) sold with accompanying watercolour by Peter Suart 6.27cm high.
Treasury 4, no. 666
黃色玻璃內畫二駿犬圖鼻煙壺 壺：1770～1850 內畫：王習三，1969年
Wang Xisan's Masterly Threat to the Art
Yellow glass, ink, and watercolours; with a flat lip and protruding flat foot with a groove carved around it to separate out a footrim; painted with a continuous garden scene with a cypress tree and a convoluted rock formation in which are set two dogs copied from paintings by Giuseppe Castiglione, one standing, scratching its ear, with a seal, dongwu (animal), above in negative seal script, the other seated, inscribed in regular script, 'Executed in imitation of the painting ideas of Lang Shining during the last month of the summer in the year jiyou at Yihu zhai (One Bottle Studio)', with one seal of the artist, Xisan, in negative seal script
Bottle: 17701850 Painting: Wang Xisan, One Bottle Studio, Hengshui, Hebei province, 1969 Height: 6.27 cm Mouth/lip: 0.65/1.90 cm Stopper: carnelian; glass collar Condition: Old bottle: the outer footrim irregular, possibly the result of the removal of chips, but possibly just because it was not a particularly elegantly formed nineteenth-century bottle in any case; some extensive wear on the footrim suggesting that the lesser degree of wear on the outer surface indicates some level of re-polishing at some state, although some abrasions and scratches have occurred since. Painting: studio condition
Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart
Provenance: C. F. Turner Sotheby's, London, 23 October 1970, lot 239 (bought Stanton) Sotheby's, London, 6 May 1986, lot 285
Published: Kleiner 1987, no. 310 Illustrated London News, Summer 1990, p. 49 Orient Express Magazine, Summer 1990, p. 49 Prestige, Summer 1990, p. 49 Galeries Lafayette 1990, p. 11, no. 2 Arts of Asia, September-October 1990, p. 98 Kleine Schätze aus China, p. 10 Kleiner 1994, p. 42, Pl. 24, lower right Kleiner 1995, no. 433 Chinese Snuff Bottles in the Collection of Mary and George Bloch (illustrated folder) Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July 1997 Treasury 4, no. 666
Exhibited: Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987 Galeries Lafayette, Paris, April 1990 Creditanstalt, Vienna, MayJune 1993 British Museum, London, JuneNovember 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, JulyNovember 1997 Christie's, London, 1999
Commentary This lovely painting has always been considered to be one of Wang Xisan's masterpieces, and it is superbly painted, of that there is no question. Inherent in it, however, is one of the most serious threats to the art form which was to manifest itself in later years in the works of Wang's students. As an inventive artist, Wang Xisan sought inspiration from any source, and was often moved to paint after the style or even after an individual painting by earlier painters. The superb Treasury 4, no. 662 is such a bottle, as is this. These two depictions of dogs are copied from two hanging scrolls which belong to a set of ten entitled Shijun tu (Ten Splendid Dogs) now in the collection of the National Palace Museum in Taipei, the 'golden-winged hound' (e-card) and the 'mottled brocade tiger cub' (e-card). He has copied the two dogs exactly. But by blending the two into a single work of art and altering the setting, Wang has borrowed from Castiglione while painting his own work of art, as he always had. But the idea of copying from existing paintings opened up the floodgates for his many students. To shift artistic intent from creating a work of art to copying it, is to walk on thin ice aesthetically, particularly in a medium where one is never on too solid a footing in any case because of the inherent risk of trivialization contained in the medium itself. From that point onwards, particularly among students without Wang's long-standing sense of his own artistic tradition, there is a tendency to look for images to put inside a bottle, rather than to use the inside of a bottle as a place to create individual works of art. The moment that happens, you can say goodbye to the art as it slips back into the commercial banality from which Wang Xisan had single-handedly saved it during his golden years.
Lang Shining was the Chinese name of Giuseppe Castiglione (16881766), a Jesuit painter from Milan who served the Chinese court in the eighteenth century, painting an extraordinary series of masterpieces in one of the most successful fusions of Western and Chinese style ever achieved. According to the inscription on the original painting, the name given to the dog scratching its ear was Jinchi xian (Dog with Gilded Wings). This prized dog was offered as a tribute item to the Qianlong emperor (r. 17361795) by Danborincin, a fourth-rank taisha from the Khorchins, one of the Mongolian tribes that had moved into Manchuria at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Its Manchu name means 'Tibetan dog' (see Zhuang Jifa 1992, p. 145). The other beast, seated looking back over its shoulder, was called Banjin biao (Tiger-cat [Wearing] Striped Brocade). It was offered to the Qianlong emperor by Fu Heng (d. 1769), a Grand Secretary and a Duke of the First Rank with the Designation Zhongyong (Faithful and Courageous). In 1760 his second son, Fulong'an (1743 or 17461784) had the honour of marrying Princess Hejia, the fourth daughter of the Qianlong emperor.
來源： C. F. Turner 蘇富比，倫敦，1970年10月23日，拍賣品號239 蘇富比，倫敦，1986年5月6日，拍賣品號285 文獻﹕ Kleiner 1987, 編號310 Illustrated London News, 1990年夏期，頁49 Orient Express Magazine, 1990年夏期，頁49 Prestige, 1990年夏期，頁49 Galeries Lafayette 1990, 頁11，編號2 Arts of Asia, 1990年9 月～10月，頁98 Kleine Schätze aus China, 頁10 Kleiner 1994, 頁42，插圖24，下右 Kleiner 1995, 編號433 Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Mary and George Bloch（折疊式插圖印刷品），Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷，1997年7 月 Treasury 5， 編號748 展覽﹕ 香港藝術館，1978年10 月至12月 L'Arcade Chaumet, 巴黎、布魯塞爾、阿姆斯特丹，1982年6月～8月 Sydney L. Moss Ltd, 倫敦, 1987年10 月 香港藝術館，1994年3 月～6月 National Museum of Singapore, 1994年11月～1995年1月 大英博物館, 倫敦, 1995年6月～10 月 Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷, 1997年7月～11月 佳士得，倫敦，1999年