A 'famille-rose' enamelled porcelain 'figures' snuff bottle
Jingdezhen, 17961820 5.95cm high.
Treasury 6, no. 1256
A famille rose enamelled porcelain 'figures' snuff bottle
Famille rose enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain; with a convex lip and recessed, flat foot surrounded by a protruding, convex footrim; painted with a continuous landscape scene with trees and drifting clouds in which two scholars, each holding a folding fan, cross a stone bridge over an inlet to a main waterway, chatting as they walk towards two women at the window of a large pavilion on a stone foundation in a rocky mountain setting; the lip and outer footrim painted gold; the foot glazed; the interior unglazed Jingdezhen, 17961820 Height: 5.95 cm Mouth/lip: 0.65/1.1 cm Stopper: glass, carved with a coiled chi dragon; glass collar
Condition:some abrasion to the gold enamel on the lip and around the footrim; usual minor wear from use; otherwise, in kiln condition
Provenance: Robert Hall (2001) Robert Kleiner (2001) Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd. (2001)
Published: Treasury 6, no. 1256
Commentary There is a series of unmarked porcelain bottles that are of typically Jiaqing in style and can be reasonably attributed to the period. A few of them may have been made a year or two before the reign, and some perhaps a little afterwards, but they remain firmly Jiaqing in style. This example if one of them and may even date from early in the reign. Uncompressed and with the exaggeratedly elongated-ovoid form that became popular during the Jiaqing reign, it displays the enamels and painting style of the late- Qianlongearly-Jiaqing period. There is also a small detail that relates it to known Jiaqing-marked imperial bottles: the lattice windows of the pavilion in which the women sit awaiting the arrival of their scholars are painted in iron-red with turquoise-blue filling between them. A similar colour scheme for windows also appears onTreasury 6, no. 1260. Another version of this subject, painted with the same distinctive and bold use of the palette, is in Robert Kleiner & Co., 1997, no. 43.
The landscape style is influenced, albeit at a distance, by the style of Tang Ying (see Sale 1, lot 27) from the early-Qianlong period; its drifting clouds and blue-green rocks are defined by painterly, elegant, black brushstrokes. This is one of those later versions of his influential style that truly comes close to the quality of the wares he supervised. It is an outstanding painting of an evocative subject, perfectly controlled and with an unusually powerful sense of colour. The balance of the various blocks of different-coloured enamels is exquisite, and their abstract potential was obviously taken into account with great sensitivity at the time of designing the subject. One only has to consider the disposition of the iron-red, a starkly different colour from the blended blues, greys, and greens of the rocks and trees. The artist has emphasized the entire pavilion in which the women wait by giving it walls of a pale wash of iron-red, with pillars and the robes of one woman in a darker tone, setting up an island of colour as one focal point. One scholar crossing the bridge is then identified as the other important element of the subject by being dressed in iron-red robes, carefully painted with a formalized-clouds design in gold enamel to break up the block of colour. The ironred on the ribs of the other figure's folding fan helps tie the two figures together. To further emphasize the implied connection between the men on the bridge and the ladies in the mountain, a yellow enamel has been introduced as the stone foundation for the pavilion and for the stones of the bridge. Despite its lack of reign mark, this is one of the finest enamelled snuff bottles of the Jiaqing period and, as if to show that the makers really meant it, the bottle has been unusually thinly and elegantly potted another way in which it signals its emulation of the thin-walled porcelain snuff bottles of the Tang Ying group.