Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, Daoguang iron-red four-character seal mark and of the period, 1821-1840 5.74cm high.
Treasury 6, no. 1315
A 'famille-rose' porcelain 'cranes' snuff bottle
Famille-rose enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain; with a slightly convex lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding convex footrim; each main side painted with cranes, one standing on one leg among peonies and lingzhi, the other flying in a gymnastic pose above a plantain lily, more lingzhi, and grass, the panels surrounded by five bats flying amidst formalized clouds on a blue ground; the foot inscribed in iron-red seal script, Daoguang nian zhi ('Made during the Daoguang period'); the lip, inner neck, and interior glazed Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, 18211840 Height: 5.74 cm Mouth/lip: 0.65/1.82 cm Stopper: stained bone; nephrite collar
Condition: tiny nibbles, one slightly larger, to the outer lip and footrim; surface scratches and pitting in the enamels; wear and fading to the enamels on both sides; gold circular panel frame worn
Provenance: Stempel Collection Sotheby's New York (PB 84), 11 October 1979, lot 87 Gerd Lester (1986)
Published: Stevens 1976, no. 301 Hong Kong 1977, p. 60, fig. 116 Kleiner 1995, no. 215 Treasury 6, no. 1315
Exhibited: British Museum, London, JuneOctober 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, JulyNovember 1997
This compressed spherical form with a superimposed, protruding footrim and a cylindrical neck was one of the most common forms for imperial porcelain bottles of the Daoguang period (see also Sale 2, lot 4, Sale 3, lot 68, and Sale 3, lot 75). The decoration, however, is not routine, nor are the thick, rather glutinous enamels. The use of these enamels, particularly in combination with the heavy use of white, either mixed into the ruby-red to form a strong pink or on its own, links them to popular wares of the Jiaqing period; the enamels used on the pair of gourd bottles, Treasury 6, nos. 1258 and 1259, are similar. There is also an additional twist in the way the character guang is written in the reign mark, suggesting that the formalization of the reign mark had not been settled upon by the time it was written. It probably dates from the earlier part of the reign. The circular panels may also be an indication of an earlier product. They come, of course, from eighteenth-century enamelled wares made both at the palace workshops and for the court at Jingdezhen. They are found on numerous enamels in the Bloch Collection from the Kangxi to the Qianlong reigns and remained popular on certain porcelain bottles into the Jiaqing period, but were not so common in snuff-bottle decoration under the Daoguang emperor. His love of porcelain snuff bottles and enormous imperial production suggests that he took an interest in production at Jingdezhen and would have imposed his own taste and decorative ideas over the length of his reign, rather than slavishly continuing ancient decorative modes.