A moulded 'famille-rose' porcelain 'ba jixiang' snuff bottle
Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, Jiaqing iron-red seal mark and of the period, 17961820 7.23cm high.
Treasury 6, no. 1203
Famille rose enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain; with a slightly convex lip and concave foot surrounded by a convex footrim; moulded and painted with a continuous design of Eight Buddhist Emblems interspersed with formalized Indian lotus on a lower plane of formalized clouds, with some of the upper plane of detail undercut to leave it free standing, framed between formalized lingzhi around the base and shoulders, with a neck band of continuous leiwen (thunder pattern); the lip painted in gold enamel; the foot inscribed in iron-red seal script, Jiaqing nian zhi ('Made during the Jiaqing period'); the interior unglazed Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, 17961820 Height: 7.23 cm Mouth/lip: 0.53/1.92 cm Stopper: gold and iron-red enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain, moulded with a formalized chrysanthemum design; original
Condition: some wear to gold enamel on lip; tiny chip on canopy (near the finial close to the top left-hand ribbon); tiny chip to the formalized floral motif left to the canopy; small chip at the top of the eternal knot; tiny chip to the central raised boss of one formalized lingzhi head at shoulders; minor wear to upper surfaces and weaker enamels, such as iron red; small chip in the integral collar of the stopper; finial missing and repainted as a less prominent bulge. General relative condition: excellent
Provenance: Robert Hall, 1985
Published: Treasury 6, no. 1203
Commentary: Two innovations of the Jiaqing period in moulded porcelain bottles are represented here. This elongated, compressed ovoid form becomes one of the popular standards at the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen. It is also found on Guangzhou enamels on metal from the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods, and on the group of Guangzhou-decorated export porcelain bottles represented by Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 230. It seems to have proven particularly suitable for dragon-and-fenghuang designs. The second development is a sort of halfway house between moulded bottles with relief designs on a single body and those with a reticulated outer body connected to a smaller, undecorated inner container (such as in lot*, Treasury 6, no. 1194). Deep undercutting of the formalized cloud pattern on which the coloured elements of the design float creates something of the impression of a double body without involving the additional technical problems of actually creating one. On orders for sets, possibly quite large sets, this method probably proved less time consuming than fitting two bodies together with the outer one pierced through.
For a monochrome iron-red version of the subject, apparently from the same mould, see Chinese Snuff Bottles, no. 5, p. 55, fig. 31. Polychrome examples are in Chinese Snuff Bottles, no. 3, p. 51, fig. 58, and Chow 1988, no. S.13, from the Edward T. Chow Collection probably from the same mould.
An interesting detail here is the two tones of iron-red used for the neck borders, achieved possibly in a subsequent muffle-kiln firing to add another layer of the colour over the paler wash of the ground. This is another feature of Jiaqing moulded porcelain bottles.
This particular shape, together with some other mid-Qing moulded porcelain shapes, has both its neck rim and footrim entirely covered in glaze, and since no spur-marks are in evidence, the piece can only have been fire upside down on a rod of some kind (see under no. 1166); otherwise, it follows the standard form of being constructed from two sections joined along a vertical seam on the narrow sides and beneath the foot.