A ruby-red glass overlay 'monkey and peaches' snuff bottle
Transparent ruby-red and translucent white glass; with a flat lip and recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding flat footrim; carved as a single overlay on one main side with a monkey in the branches of a fruiting peach tree, handing down a large peach to another monkey, with a wasp or bee nearby and a bat flying above, inscribed in relief seal script, Sanqian shou ('A lifespan of three thousand years'), the other main side with Liu Hai chasing his three-legged toad above severed stems of a lotus flower and a large leaf, with a seal in relief seal script, Daya ('Great elegance') Yangzhou, 1830-1890 Height: 5.9 cm Mouth/lip: 0.55/1.51 cm Stopper: glass; vinyl collar
Condition: Air bubble in lip cut through as part of the original process and filled with dirt; practically imperceptible chip to inner footrim; otherwise, workshop condition
Provenance: Kaynes-Klitz Collection Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 16 November 1989, lot 52
Exhibited: Hong Kong Museum of Art, March-June 1994 National Museum, Singapore, November 1994-February 1995
This is commensurate with the best work of the master who carved for Li Peisong (Yunting) and Li Peizhen (Weizhi) in Yangzhou after they moved to that city in 1870, although its lack of a cyclical date obliges us to give it a broad dating range. It displays the features we have come to expect of his best work, including an extremely well-matched and crisply carved footrim. Subjects may be repeated, but compositions never, a feature that indicates high artistic standards.