A carved 'famille-rose' enamelled glass 'cat' snuff bottle
Imperial, palace workshops, Guyue xuan mark, Beijing, 17751799 6.03cm high.
Treasury 6, no. 1102
A carved famille rose enamelled glass 'cat' snuff bottle
('Long-Lived Cat ')
Famille rose enamels on translucent white glass; with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding flat footrim; carved in relief with a continuous partial design, coloured and completed with enamels, of a butterfly flying above a cat standing on the grassy top of a perforated, convoluted rock formation in a garden with a blossoming prunus tree, flowering poppies, and grass; the foot inscribed in pale, iron-red regular script Guyue xuan ('Ancient Moon Pavilion') Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 17751799 Height: 6.03 cm Mouth/lip: 0.65/1.85 cm Stopper: gilt copper, chased with a design of three bats, with a formalized floral finial
Condition:miniscule nibbles to the inside of the lip;small chip to the upper bud on the side without the cat, partially ground off;minor wear to surface enamels, and the usual fading of the mark, particularly the centre character,yue, but none of it too obtrusive.General relative condition: reasonably good
Provenance: Gerd Lester Sotheby's, New York, 17 March 1997, lot 51
Published: Treasury 6, no. 1102
Commentary This broad, flattened spherical form was a popular one within the classic Guyue xuan group, having the advantage of offering the artist more surface for his composition. In common with most of this group, the enamels are technically under excellent control; it takes a magnifying glass to discover even minor technical imperfections (the slight bubbling of the pink enamel of the prunus blossoms, for instance, which is more subtle than the technical failings in many of the earlier eighteenth-century wares and gives an appropriate textural effect). This bottle, like so many, exhibits apparent scratching of the surface prior to enamelling.
The double-plane group was probably made for only a relatively short period of time from some time after about 1775 perhaps until the death of the emperor in 1799. There are several other poplar designs for this relief group.