Moulded porcelain  tribue bearers.  Jiaqing mark.
Lot 95
A moulded 'famille rose' porcelain figural snuff bottle Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, Jiaqing iron-red seal mark and of the period, 1796–1820
Sold for HK$ 96,000 (US$ 12,373) inc. premium

Lot Details
Moulded porcelain  tribue bearers.  Jiaqing mark. Moulded porcelain  tribue bearers.  Jiaqing mark. Moulded porcelain  tribue bearers.  Jiaqing mark. Moulded porcelain  tribue bearers.  Jiaqing mark. Moulded porcelain  tribue bearers.  Jiaqing mark.
A moulded 'famille rose' porcelain figural snuff bottle
Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, Jiaqing iron-red seal mark and of the period, 1796–1820
sold with accompanying watercolour by Peter Suart
7.38cm high.


  • Treasury 6, no. 1213

    景德鎮官窯,鐵紅嘉慶年款, 1796~1820

    Foreign Treasure

    Famille rose enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain; with a slightly convex lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding convex footrim; moulded with a continuous design of a rocky waterside landscape with a terrace on which six tribute bearers travel to the capital, one riding a horse and carrying a lingzhi in a pot, another carrying a flaming pearl, one pushing a two-wheeled cart containing a branch of coral in a vase, one holding an elephant tusk, one a sword, and the last a pot with what may be intended as two further pearls, followed by a caparisoned white elephant with a vase on its back containing a ruyi sceptre with a beribboned fylfot (wan symbol) and another branch of coral, the terrace covered in a leiwen (thunder pattern) diaper design to represent the ground, with formalized clouds at the shoulders on one main side; the foot inscribed in iron-red seal script, Jiaqing nian zhi (Made during the Jiaqing period); the lip and footrim painted gold; the interior unglazed.
    Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, 1796–1820
    Height: 7.38 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.72/1.70 cm
    Stopper: gold, turquoise-green, iron-red, and black enamel on colourless glaze on porcelain, moulded with a formalized chrysanthemum design; original
    Condition: two small unrestored chips to the underside of the lip at the upper neck rim (each 0.50 x 0.32 cm); some minor surface wear through use. Stopper: original for this type of bottle, and possibly for this particular bottle, with some wear to the gold enamel of the knob. General relative condition: very good

    Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart

    Robert Hall (1987)

    Hall 1987, no.58
    Treasury 6, no. 1213

    By the time the Jiaqing emperor came to the throne, the dynasty had been powerful, secure, and prosperous for more than a century, though the treasury had been depleted somewhat disastrously in the decades prior to his accession. The empire was the overwhelming power in East Asia, and surrounding kingdoms bowed to its might if they knew what was good for them. The massive addition of land to the empire with the successful campaign to crush the rebellious western Mongols, leading to the military occupation of Turkestan in 1759, was a telling demonstration to any neighbour rash enough to do anything but bend the knee, and bend it they did. Qing policy was to offer the benevolence and protection of enlightened power in exchange for trouble-free deference. The policy was intended to create a buffer of friendly, tributary states between China and any more distant threat that might crop up in the future. These tributary states were expected to present themselves at court on regular occasions to physically bend the knee and bring tribute of the riches and exotica of their own lands. In return they were entertained in appropriate fashion, allowed to remain in Beijing (or wherever the emperor held court) long enough to impress them with the might and sophistication of China, and sent home with an appropriate level of gifts from the emperor, although the exchange of gifts was usually heavily weighted in favour of the Chinese. The standard number of tribute bearers on snuff bottles from the Jiaqing through to the late Qing was eight, representing the number of tributary states surrounding China.

    By the end of the eighteenth century embassies from near and far arrived regularly in Beijing, carrying their tribute. These tributary nations also wanted to impress the Chinese court with their own power and sophistication, so the more important the country, the more impressive the embassy, and the processions that converged on the court every year (from as far afield as England) would have been a sight to see. There are several existing paintings of the arrival of tribute bearers that attest to the grandeur of the processions and the excitement they caused among the population as they passed, but the intention here is not to denote a specific event, as the paintings sometimes did, but to confirm, through the tribute image, the power of China. As such, bottles of this subject reinforced national self-esteem by reminding the recipient of the power of the emperor. It is hardly surprising that the design became popular on snuff bottles during the Jiaqing reign and thereafter, as the power of the empire diminished gradually. (This process began in the second half of the Qianlong reign, but did not become disastrous until the Daoguang period with the humbling Opium War; see under Treasury 6, no. 1324.)

    The standard scene shows a group of stereotypical foreigners, usually of Central Asian types (since the Silk Road was one of the main routes of entry to China from India, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe). They carry obviously valuable gifts. Finely crafted weapons, branches of coral, ivory in the form of tusks, and even fabled beasts are frequently depicted. In this case the white elephant revered in the Buddhist faith is part of the tribute, but one also finds Buddhist lions and other mythical beasts. An amusing touch is provided here by the malevolent glare the elephant is giving to the man holding the tusk of one of his fellow beasts. Since the object of the exercise here does not depend upon specific gifts, a distinctly Chinese-looking ruyi sceptre is included, with a wan symbol (fylfot, or swastika) dangling from it. The meaning of an elephant and a vase of some sort is discussed under Treasury 6, no. 1191.

    One of the indications that cinnabar lacquer bottles of the group represented by Treasury 7, nos. 1538–1543 provide some influence for the classic moulded porcelains of the late-Qianlong–Jiaqing period is found in the detailing of various landscape elements. In lacquer, a convention evolved from the fourteenth century onwards to use certain diaper patterns on different parts of the landscape. These consisted usually of formalized waves for water, formalized clouds for sky, and either formalized floral designs or leiwen for the earth, a grassy ground, or constructed terraces. Here the tribute bearers cross a terrace laid, perhaps, with slabs of stone but represented by leiwen that, of course, carries its own symbolism of longevity and continuation of the family line in its endlessly repeated pattern. It is a typical carved lacquer ground.

    Despite minor chips in the flared neck the bottle is otherwise in fine condition, without noticeable wear to the enamels. The rarity of the subject and its obvious appeal overcame any doubts the Blochs may have had as to its condition. These moulded porcelain bottles are, for obvious reasons, delicate, and those that have survived in perfect condition are in the minority. With porcelain, however, invisible repairs are possible, and can be accurately done if the repair is minor, or if there are other bottles known from the same mould to indicate what is missing. As with enamels on metal, a degree of restoration is common and acceptable.


    瓷胎,無色釉上施琺瑯彩;略凸唇、平斂底、突出凸形圈足;模印通體水邊臺,臺上有六人進貢,一人騎著馬,右手舉起靈芝,一人舉出火珠, 一人推車,車載一珊瑚樹, 一人手執大象長牙, 一人肩寶劍,一人持壺,其中有珍珠或金桃,有盛裝的大象載內插一枝懸卐字的如意與一珊瑚樹的古瓶,臺以雷紋作地,一正面肩緣有雲紋,底以鐵紅彩書"嘉慶年製"四字篆款

    景德鎮官窯, 1796~1820
    高:7.38 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.71/1.70 厘米
    狀態敘述:唇緣有兩個小缺口,未修復(各 0.50 x 0.32厘米),因累年觸摸,外壁呈現期待中的細小擦痕與磨損,本壺原件的蓋子(也可能是此類煙壺原配的蓋子)描金鈕有所磨損;一般相對的狀態:很好

    有彼德小話 (Peter Suart) 水彩畫

    Hall 1987, 編號58
    Treasury 6,編號1213

    Treasury 7, 編號1538~1543所代表的剔紅鼻煙壺對乾隆晚年到嘉慶時期典型的模製瓷胎煙壺發揮了一定的影響。本壺呈現這影響的跡象﹕十四世紀以來,雕漆衍化了在景象不同成分上使用的一系列菱格錦紋格式。本壺進貢者踏著的菱格雷紋錦地,是典型的剔紅地面花紋。

    跟金屬胎琺瑯彩一樣,模製瓷胎煙壺很容易受損, 因而一定程度上的磨損與修補既平常亦可容許,只要小心謹慎,大點的修複最好參看類似的煙壺,好好兒地瞭解,破掉的部分到底應該是怎麼樣的。本壺唇緣小缺口之外,狀態良好,琺瑯彩的擦痕與磨損並不引人注意,因為題材不多見而頗有意思,伯樂夫婦對本壺總是很滿意的。
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