A 'famille-rose' enamel on porcelain 'cicada' snuff bottle
Jingdezhen, 17901850 6.52cm high.
Treasury 6, no. 1240
A 'famille-rose' enamelled porcelain 'cicada' snuff bottle
Famille rose enamels on colourless glaze; moulded and painted as a cicada; the glaze continued into the inner-neck, the interior glazed Jingdezhen, 17901850 Length: 6.52 cm Mouth: 0.66 cm Stopper: turquoise-blue enamel on silver; chased with a free-standing frog
Condition: Some flaking and surface abrasions to enamels from use
Provenance: Alice B. McReynolds Sotheby's, New York, 16 April 1985, lot 17
Published: Treasury 6, no. 1240
There is a small series of cicada-form bottles. The form existed during the eighteenth century in jade and other materials (some certainly made for the court), so it should have occurred early to porcelain moulders in the last decades of the eighteenth century. If so, this is one of the candidates to be considered a late-Qianlong or early-Jiaqing product in all but one respect: it is glazed on the inside. A feature of this bottle that is unusual for a naturalistic moulded porcelain is the remarkable accuracy of the depiction and the enamelling. Whoever conceived of this bottle was not making a decorative, symbolic version of the insect, but a very close copy. The archaistic curlicues and stylisation seen in so many of the hardstone versions are rejected.
This cannot be the original stopper, cute as it is, unless the maker had some reason for reducing the frog to the size of a midge relative to the scale of the cicada. For other versions of this realistic model, see the commentary in Treasury 6, p. 536.