An inside-painted glass 'horse and landscape' snuff bottle Gui Xianggu, Beijing, dated 1898
Lot 166
An inside-painted glass 'horse and landscape' snuff bottle Gui Xianggu, Beijing, dated 1898
Sold for HK$ 13,750 (US$ 1,773) inc. premium
Lot Details
An inside-painted glass 'horse and landscape' snuff bottle
Gui Xianggu, Beijing, dated 1898
6.29cm high.


  • Treasury 4, no. 572


    An inside-painted 'Qiao sisters' snuff bottle

    Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; painted on one main side with the two Qiao sisters in a rocky garden setting, the other main side with a horse standing at the edge of an expanse of water with distant, cloud-enshrouded mountains, inscribed in draft script, 'Executed at the capital in the fourth month of the year wuxu by Ma Shaoxuan', with two token seals
    Gui Xianggu, Beijing, probably the fourth month, 1898
    Height: 6.29 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.68/1.65 cm
    Stopper: glass; vinyl collar

    Bottle: tiny insignificant chip, inner lip; slight stress mark in centre of foot from blowing process.
    Painting: possible very slight fading of some original colouring.
    General relative condition: excellent

    S. K. Chung (1980)
    Gerd Lester (1986)

    Treasury 4, no. 572

    Christie's, London, 1999

    Although signed with the name of Ma Shaoxuan, this is clearly the work of Gui Xianggu. Gui, as usual, has made no attempt whatsoever to sublimate his own powerful style and palette to that of the artist he purports to be copying and it is doubtful if such a painting would have fooled anyone familiar with inside-painted snuff bottles in Beijing in the 1890s. The horse here is taken from Zhou Leyuan, or perhaps the more common Ye Zhongsan versions, while the representation of the Qiao sisters is entirely in the style of Gui himself. What would prompt him to add the signature of Ma Shaoxuan is a mystery, particularly since Ma was himself active throughout the career of Gui Xianggu.

    We may assume that the Qiao sisters were intended as the subject here. The women in the garden have the clothing and hair-styles that appear on lot 12 in this sale, which is a standard image of the Qiao sisters. However, it would be just like the inventive Gui for him to borrow that image and reset the two women in a garden with no greater intention than to depict beauties enjoying the delights of nature.

    The colour here is typical of Gui, with the predominant pale purple colour appearing on both sides combined with a brick-coloured orange and white, which together with a pale wash of orange-brown and ink make up his primary palette. The combination of the purple and orange is quite bold and rather effective, and it is obvious that he used the palette as a sort of trademark, as time and time again the colours turn up, whether wholly appropriate or not. The horse, for instance, has bright orange hooves, and its body, the foreground, and distant mountains beyond are all washed in purple.


    玻璃,墨,水彩;凹唇, 凸斂底,突出圈足,圈足底為一圓棱;一面內畫喬家姊妹在庭園,一面內畫駿馬圖,上題"戊戌四月作於京師,馬少宣",前後鈐兩個象徵性的印
    高﹕ 6.29 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.68/1.65 厘米
    蓋﹕ 玻璃;乙烯基座

    狀態敘述:壺﹕唇內緣有微不足道的缺口,底中心有吹製時形成的細小應力裂痕。 內畫﹕或許有所退色。一般性相對的狀態:極善

    S. K. Chung (1980)
    Gerd Lester (1986)

    Treasury 4, 編號 572



    我們說美女遊苑圖畫的是喬家姊妹是設想。他們很像這場拍賣會的拍賣品號 12,而那是她們典型的形像。不過,桂香谷很有創新心,他很可能是借喬家姊妹的形像來畫一般性的美人遊苑圖。

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