A 'famille-rose' enamelled gold-ground glass 'lotus' snuff bottle
Imperial, palace workshops, Qianlong incised mark and of the period, 17361765 5.21cm high.
Treasury 6, no. 1072
Famille rose enamels on translucent white glass; with a flat lip and recessed slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding convex footrim; painted on each main side with a foliate panel of lotus and aquatic grass, the panels surrounded by a formalized floral design, the shoulders with a band of formalized lingzhi beneath a neck band of formalized flowers, all on a gold ground; the foot inscribed in engraved seal script Qianlong nian zhi ('Made during the Qianlong period') Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 17361765 Height: 5.21 cm Mouth/lip: 0.80/1.32 cm Stopper: pearl; jadeite finial; coral collar
Condition: some original pitting to enamels, particularly the ruby red; tiniest of insignificant chips to inner lip (or possibly part of the process of manufacture); very slight wear to the gold enamel, with one tiny flake from the gold enamel beneath the large lotus leaf on the right; otherwise, in kiln condition
Provenance: Liu Wen-choo (acquired prior to 1911) J. T. Tai & Co., New York, (circa 1969) Hugh M. Moss Ltd (circa 1971) Loch Awe Collection (1985) Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd (1985)
Published: Bahr & Wilkinson 1911, p. 143, plate CII Hugh M. Moss Ltd 1970, p. 66, no. 266 JICSBS, December 1975, p. 9, fig. 28 Moss 1976, plate 40 (text, pp. 62 and 63) JICSBS, Winter 1986, front cover Kleiner 1987, no. 15 Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 15 Kleiner 1995, no. 28 Treasury 6, no. 1072
Exhibited: Sydney L. Moss Ltd, London, October 1987 Creditanstalt, Vienna, MayJune 1993 Hong Kong Museum of Art, MarchJune 1994 National Museum of Singapore, November 1994February 1995 British Museum, London, JuneOctober 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, JulyNovember 1997
Commentary: The painting on the present bottle is not only purely Chinese in conception and style, it is magnificently well painted, with all the subtlety of the finest enamels from the early-Qianlong palace workshops. In an unusual reversal of the usual technical shortcomings on early enamels on glass, the green here has fired exceptionally well, while the ruby-pink, where it is thicker, bubbled in the firing and is pitted where the bubbles burst. The excellent state of the gold ground on so many bottles of this group suggests they have barely been used. Enamelled glass was not distributed with the same largesse as more easily produced wares, so far more remained in the imperial collection until after 1860 and were less exposed to wear.
The stopper for this bottle was made by Moss with a pearl provided by Bloch. Among the many bottles in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, the vast majority have what appears to be an enamelled metal stopper imitating a lapis cabochon with a pearl finial and a gilt metal collar, while others have the standard gilt-bronze stopper for palace enamels, with a formalized floral design.