An inside-painted glass 'mounted Westerner' snuff bottle Ziyizi, Beijing, probably circa 1900
Lot 58
An inside-painted glass 'mounted Westerner' snuff bottle Ziyizi, Beijing, probably circa 1900
Sold for HK$ 75,000 (US$ 9,671) inc. premium
Lot Details
An inside-painted glass 'mounted Westerner' snuff bottle
Ziyizi, Beijing, probably circa 1900
Sold with accompanying watercolour by Peter Suart
6.6cm high.


  • Treasury 4, no. 623


    An inside-painted 'mounted Westerner' snuff bottle

    Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a slightly concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; painted on one main side with a high-ranking Western soldier mounted on a horse, the other main side with a scene from the opera 'A Fisherman Kills a Family,' showing Xiao En fighting with the skilled fighter who had been sent to collect a tax
    Ziyizi, Beijing, probably circa 1900
    Height: 6.6 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.68/1.74 cm
    Stopper: coral; stained walrus-ivory collar

    Condition: Bottle: the mouth is uneven which suggests that it may have been slightly polished. Painting: studio condition. General relative condition: very good.

    Watercolour by Peter Suart

    Mr. and Mrs. Peter Bozzo
    Robert Hall (1986)

    JICSBS, Autumn 1986, p. 24, fig. 3
    Kleiner 1987, no. 303
    1987 exhibition poster
    Kleiner 1995, no. 399
    Treasury 4, no. 623

    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

    This painting could be by no other hand than Ziyizi's. It is painted in his typical boneless style and is in studio condition, allowing us to appreciate the artist's impressionistic skills in a medium that hardly encourages an impressionistic approach.

    The opera illustrated is known under two other titles, Qingdingzhu ('The Lucky Pearl') and Tao yushui ('Demanding the Fishing Tax'). It is about a retired bandit, Xiao En, who lived with his daughter, Xiao Guiying, by fishing. The local bully, Ding, sent his underlings to Xiao En, demanding the payment of a fishing tax. Xiao refused. He was severely punished by the magistrate and ordered to apologize. Xiao was so enraged that he decided to take his daughter with him to see Ding. They pretended to pay up with a prized pearl, which Guiying had received as a betrothal token from her fiancé. After they had gained access to the interior of the Ding residence, they took their revenge by slaughtering the whole Ding family and then fled for their lives. The scene depicted here occurs shows Xiao En giving Ding's henchman a good thrashing.

    For another summary of the plot, see Emily Byrne Curtis, 'Unexpected Dividends', JICSBS, Autumn 1986, p. 24, where, on p. 27, is illustrated a photograph of a scene from the opera.


    玻璃,墨,水彩;微凹唇,凸斂底,突出圈足,圈足底為一圓棱;一面內繪西洋騎兵, 一面內繪《打漁殺家》蕭恩把丁員派來的武術大教師打回的一場
    自怡子,北京,大約 1900年
    高﹕ 6.6 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.68/1.74 厘米
    蓋﹕ 珊瑚;染色海象牙座

    狀態敘述: 壺:口沿略有不平,擬經磨平。內畫:出齋狀況。一般性相對的狀態:很好。

    帶有彼德小話 (Peter Suart) 水彩畫

    Mr. and Mrs. Peter Bozzo
    羅伯特.霍爾 (1986)

    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》,1986年秋期,頁 24,圖 3
    Kleiner 1987, 編號 303
    1987 展覽海報
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 399
    Treasury 4, 編號 623

    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