A moulded 'famille-rose' porcelain 'nine Buddhist lions' snuff bottle
Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, Jiaqing gold-enamelled seal mark and of the period, 17961820 6.85cm high.
Treasury 6, no. 1210
Gold and iron-red enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain; with a slightly convex lip and concave foot surrounded by a convex footrim; moulded with a continuous design of nine Buddhist lions playing with five beribboned brocade balls 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 at the shoulders, the neck with a band of continuous leiwen (thunder pattern); all exterior surfaces of the outer body covered with iron-red enamel detailed in gold; the lip, neck rim, and footrim painted gold; the foot inscribed in iron-red seal script, Jiaqing nian zhi ('Made during the Jiaqing period'); the interior unglazed Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, 17961820 Height: 6.85 cm Mouth/lip: 0.6/2.0 cm Stopper: iron-red and gold enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain, moulded with a formalized chrysanthemum design
Condition: kiln condition; stopper probably not original, but a later replacement, possibly made in the 1970s
Exhibited: Sydney L. Moss Ltd, London, October 1987 Creditanstalt, Vienna, MayJune 1993
Commentary: This is one of a series of iron-red, primarily monochrome versions with only the addition of some painted detail in gold enamel. These bottles also appear in other monochrome colours; there is a white version in Bragge 1878 (fig. 1). We know that Bragge owned another with iron-red decoration as well. In the 1880 edition of his Bibliotheca Nicotiana, is no. 129: 'Imitation red lac, perforated all over, kylins in relief; marked in gold.' In those days and for a century thereafter Western collectors made no distinction between the various mythical beasts of China: any mythical animal might be described by the catch-all term qilin (Bragge's 'kylin'). The entry, however, can only refer to a bottle such as this.