An inside-painted glass 'playing cats' snuff bottle Family of Ma Shaoxuan, Beijing, dated 1899
Lot 100
An inside-painted glass 'playing cats' snuff bottle Family of Ma Shaoxuan, Beijing, dated 1899
Sold for HK$ 40,000 (US$ 5,157) inc. premium

Lot Details
An inside-painted glass 'playing cats' snuff bottle Family of Ma Shaoxuan, Beijing, dated 1899 An inside-painted glass 'playing cats' snuff bottle Family of Ma Shaoxuan, Beijing, dated 1899 An inside-painted glass 'playing cats' snuff bottle Family of Ma Shaoxuan, Beijing, dated 1899 An inside-painted glass 'playing cats' snuff bottle Family of Ma Shaoxuan, Beijing, dated 1899 An inside-painted glass 'playing cats' snuff bottle Family of Ma Shaoxuan, Beijing, dated 1899
An inside-painted glass 'playing cats' snuff bottle
Family of Ma Shaoxuan, Beijing, dated 1899
3.78cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 4, no. 584

    玻璃內畫雙歡圖鼻煙壺
    馬少宣家族,北京,1899年作

    An inside-painted 'playing cats' snuff bottle

    Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a slightly concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a rounded footrim; painted on one main side with two cats playing amorously, entitled in regular script 'Picture of a Happy Pair', the other main side inscribed in regular script with a poem followed by '[Inscribed by] Ma Shaoxuan in the ninth month of the year jihai', followed by one seal of the artist, shao, in negative seal script
    Family of Ma Shaoxuan, Beijing, ninth month, 1899
    Height: 3.78 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.44/1.15 cm
    Stopper: jadeite; vinyl collar

    Condition: Bottle: some slight abrasion from use; otherwise, workshop condition.
    Painting: studio condition

    Provenance:
    Arts of China, Hong Kong (1986)

    Published:
    Kleiner 1987, no. 286
    Kleiner 1995, no. 412
    Treasury 4, no. 584

    Exhibited:
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    British Museum, London, June–November 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997
    Christie's, London, 1999

    If, as we believe, Ma had a workshop of family members producing bottles under his name from time to time, it is not at all clear to what extent a certain artist would specialize in a particular subject, as the Ye Family seems to have done. It would certainly make sense, if one member of the family had mastered a particular subject, for that person to produce it whenever needed, although it is possible that Ma devised the first version. No. 626 in Treasury 4 is another version of this subject painted. It is inscribed by Ma Shaoxian, providing us with a clue as to which other family member might have painted this subject under Ma Shaoxuan's signature. Also, the calligraphy here is not up to Shaoxuan's usual standards. We believe that Ma Shaoxian's calligraphy might have passed for his uncle's to the unwary, nevertheless.

    Ma Shaoxuan, or his family workshop, produced a number of miniature bottles, probably more than any other artist, although Meng Zishou and the Ye family produced some. As a rule, he does not seem to have taken them so seriously, and many are of the simple, decorative group of paintings that may have been turned out by family members. It is possible that the scale did not appeal to him and he allowed other family members to produce most of them, but this is a particularly good example made the more impressive by its excellent condition.

    The poem appeared also on lot 18 in this Sale, a bottle painted by Ding Erzhong. It is 'Paid a Visit to a Recluse but Missed Seeing Him', composed by Jia Dao (circa 793–865). Once more, our translation:

    Below the pines I asked the boy,
    Who said the master had gone to gather herbs.
    'He's within this mountain, that's all;
    The clouds are deep and I don't know where.'

    玻璃內畫雙歡圖鼻煙壺

    玻璃,墨,水彩;微凹唇,斂凸底,圓棱圈足;一面內畫二貓戲圖,題曰 "雙歡圖",一面內書賈島《尋隱者不遇》,後書"己亥菊月馬少宣",並以白文"少"篆印結尾
    馬少宣家族,北京,1899年農曆九月
    高﹕ 3.78 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.44/1.15 厘米
    蓋﹕ 翡翠;乙烯基座

    狀態敘述:壺﹕經過歲月的獨摸以後,呈微微的擦傷;此外,出坊狀態。內畫﹕出齋狀態

    來源:
    Arts of China, Hong Kong (1986)

    文獻﹕
    Kleiner 1987, 編號 286
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 412
    Treasury 4, 編號 584

    展覽﹕
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd.,倫敦,1987年10月
    Creditanstalt, 維也納, 1993年5月~6月
    大英博物館, 1995年6月~11月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷,1997年7月~月11月
    倫敦佳士得,1999年

    Treasury 4編號 626 也有雙歡圖一幅,那件壺帶馬紹先的名子。也許本壺也是他畫的。我們認為本壺的書法不如馬少宣一般的水準,可能是馬紹先寫的,粗心的人也許不會意識到。

    馬少宣或他家族 的作坊製作了不少微型鼻煙壺,大概比其他的內畫家多。他似乎沒把微型煙壺當回事,所畫的內畫一般是簡單的,家裏人都會作。
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