Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang.
Lot 135
A 'famille-rose'-enamelled glass snuff bottle Imperial, Guyue xuan type, probably palace workshops, Beijing, 1775–1799
Sold for HK$ 1,920,000 (US$ 247,493) inc. premium

Lot Details
Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang. Guyue xuan enamel on glass, fenghuang.
A 'famille-rose'-enamelled glass snuff bottle
Imperial, Guyue xuan type, probably palace workshops, Beijing, 1775–1799
sold with accompanying watercolour by Peter Suart
5.78cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 6, no. 1101


    白玻璃琺瑯彩鳳凰朝陽鼻煙壺
    御製品,宮廷作坊作,北京, 古月軒款,1775~1799


    Facing the Sun

    Famille rose enamels on translucent white glass; with a flat lip and recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding flattened footrim; carved in relief with a continuous partial design, coloured and completed with enamels, of a fenghuang standing on one leg atop a perforated, convoluted rock formation, with peonies and lingzhi growing nearby, the sun above partially veiled by a wisp of cloud; the foot inscribed in pale, iron-red regular script Guyue xuan (Ancient Moon Pavilion)
    Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 1775–1799
    Height: 5.78 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.72/1.62 cm
    Stopper: jadeite; gilt silver collar
    Condition: some minor surface wear, invisible to the naked eye, the base mark with some abrasions affecting the iron red of the mark. General relative condition: except for the wear to the base, virtually studio condition


    Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart

    Provenance:
    Robert Hall (1985)

    Published:
    Kleiner 1987, no. 19
    JICSBS, Summer 1987, p. 23
    Treasury 6, no. 1101

    Exhibited:
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993

    Commentary
    For the Guyue xuan group of enamelled glass wares, see Treasury 6, nos. 1094 – 1105, and Hugh Moss, 'Mysteries of the Ancient Moon,' JICSBS, Spring 2006.

    A series of popular subjects for the classic Guyue xuan group was used repeatedly, although always with changes in composition. This symbolic design of a fenghuang and the rising sun appears often enough to allow us to examine the variations in composition. Another example is in Perry 1960, no. 76 (where it is catalogued in the confused tradition of the time as not being a genuine Guyue xuan bottle because it bore a Guyue xuan, rather than a Qianlong mark). All the same elements appear, but the composition is entirely different, the bird looking in a different direction, the sun in a different place, the large lingzhi, if present at all in the Perry version, on the other side, and so forth. Apart from the differences in the basic composition, fixed by either the designer or the glass carver, the colours have been varied as well, perhaps by the enameller but again, possibly dictated by a preparatory sketch. The clouds of the Perry version are blue and yellow with iron-red details, whereas here the blue is absent. Another example in the Burghley House Collection will suffice to establish the overall trend (Kleiner 1989, no. 59); it features still more colourful clouds and a second, flying fenghuang on the other main side. Another very similar counterpart was in Christie's, New York, 29 November 1990, lot 125. One of somewhat similar form was sold at Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 28 April 1997, lot 36 (from the Bob Stevens and Eric Young Collections, also in JICSBS, Summer 1997, p. 27, fig. 4, and Sotheby's, London, 3 March 1987, lot 65). Another variation on the theme, with two fenghuang (one in flight) and peonies, is in the Monimar Collection (Lawrence 1996, no. 2). The same subject also appears among others on a small, long-necked vase with four panels of decoration; that is illustrated in Moss 1978, p. 1, fig. 6; p. 15, fig. 10, is another vase, with a four-character Qianlong mark, also decorated with the same theme. Obviously a popular subject, the fenghuang–peony combination was ordered on a range of works, but the lingering preference at the palace workshops to treat each piece as an individual work of art still prevailed. The wear on many of the classic Guyue xuan wares is informative. Like so many mid to late-Qianlong enamels, high magnification gives the impression of a pattern of scratches going under the enamels. With such evidence on a plain bottle it would be sensible to at least allow that the bottle when enamelled was already old, with a pattern of surface scratches, but that hypothesis is not credible in the case of this double-plane group. Such pieces are incomplete without the enamelling, and to leave blank, partial design, white glass bottles for years before enamelling them, but putting them to use in the meantime, would be inconceivable. In some cases the enamels themselves are barely worn at all as if the bottle has been used only very sparingly for a short period of time, while the ground is somewhat abraded. This combination of unworn enamel and worn glass ground are sufficiently common on the relief group that the only possible conclusion is that the glass was either left a little roughened from the polishing process or purposely re-roughened in order to hold the enamels better. Either way is plausible, and the visual surface would look much the same.

    The subject represents several desires. A fenghuang gazing at the sun illustrates a popular phrase, Danfeng chaoyang (literally, 'A fenghuang facing the sun) that symbolizes a man being given an opportunity to prove his talents. The peonies are emblematic of wealth because of their exuberant colours and the fact that in the past only the aristocratic families could afford to grow them in their gardens. As for the lingzhi and rocks, both are standard symbols of long life.


    朝陽

    半通明白色玻璃施琺瑯彩;平唇、略凸底、突出切削平整圈足;通體浮雕鳳凰站在牡丹花間坡石上望見祥雲托日,傍有靈芝一枝,底淡鐵紅書"古月軒"單行橫向楷款

    御製品,宮廷作坊作,北京, 1775~1790
    高:5.78 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.72/1.62 厘米
    蓋:翡翠,描金銀座
    狀態敘述:器表有微不足道的磨損,肉眼看不見,底款有所缺;一般相對的狀態:除了底款擦損外,實質上是出坊狀態

    有彼德小話 (Peter Suart) 水彩畫

    來源:
    羅伯特.霍爾(1985)
    文獻:
    Kleiner 1987, 編號19
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, 1987年夏期,頁23
    Treasury 6,編號1101
    展覽﹕
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd, 倫敦, 1987年10 月
    Creditanstalt, 維也納, 1993年5月~6月

    說明:
    關於玻璃胎琺瑯彩古月軒鼻煙壺,參閱Treasury 6, 編號1094~1105與莫士撝,〈古月奧秘〉,《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, 2006年春期。關於丹鳳朝陽圖其他例子,參閱Treasury 6,編號1101,本壺的說明和本網站的英文版。有乾隆年款也好,有古月軒款也好,宮廷作坊的工藝師還是以每一件作品視為單個藝術作品。

    典型的古月軒煙壺上的磨耗是有益於增長見識的。像許多乾隆中期、後期的琺瑯器物一樣,把它們放大數倍來看,琺瑯彩下好像有細微的抓傷肌理。如果是無雕飾的玻璃壺呈現這樣的磨耗,我們很會很合理地認為是舊壺施新彩的。但這一批壺不可能是浮雕了圖案以後,不施琺瑯彩而先交付使用的。必定是玻璃胎浮雕圖案以後就故意地不磨滑或者先拋光再弄。把表面磨毛糙當然是為了不讓琺瑯輕易地脫落。有時,琺瑯表面只呈一點點的抓痕,表示使用時間比較短,但玻璃面還是毛糙的,這跟我們的推論是一致的。
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