Clutching the Ball Famille-rose enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain, moulded in the form of a Buddhist lion curled around a brocaded ball held between all four of its legs Possibly Jingdezhen imperial kilns, 17801810 Height: 4.3cm Mouth: 0.3cm Stopper: porcelain
Condition: Minor rubbing to the red pigment on the mouth; otherwise, in good condition
Provenance: Robert Kleiner & Co., 2008
This is part of the group of complex moulded porcelain bottles from the mid-Qing period dealt with in Treasury 6, under nos. 11901228, among which nos. 11971199 are of Buddhist lions. This is a unique version, otherwise unrecorded; it is of a different model, showing just the male clutching a brocaded ball in an unusual pose, and it is of smaller size than most. The detailing, style, and colouring, however, suggest it is still part of the standard group of coloured examples, probably dating from the last decade or so of the eighteenth century, but possibly from the first decade of the nineteenth.
In view of its rarity, the Blochs saw the wisdom of adding this piece to their collection even though it was acquired too late to appear in volume 6 of the Treasury series, where it normally would have been featured.