An inside-painted glass 'playing children' snuff bottle
Ye Zhongsan, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, dated 1896 5.95cm high.
Treasury 4, no. 510
An inside-painted 'playing children' snuff bottle
Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a flat lip and recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; painted with a continuous scene of sixteen children playing in a garden near a wutong (paulownia) tree, inscribed in draft script 'Painted by Ye Zhongsan at the capital in the ninth month of the year bingshen', with one seal of the artist, huayin ('painting seal'), in negative seal script Ye Zhongsan, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, ninth month, 1896 Height: 5.95 cm Mouth/lip: 0.62/1.68 cm Stopper: jadeite; vinyl collar
Condition: Bottle: one tiny and one almost imperceptible chip to outer lip, one small chip to inner lip. Painting: barely perceptible staining to some colours, slight fading of part of the seal; otherwise studio condition
Provenance: Sotheby's, New York, 15 March 1984, lot 202
Exhibited: British Museum, London, JuneNovember 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, JulyNovember 1997 Christie's, London, 1999
Although a debt to Zhou can still be seen in this painting in the rocky fringe to the garden playground and the trunk of the wutong tree, this has been absorbed into Ye's own, distinctive style. 1895 had seen the emergence of Ye as an independent artist of considerable merit and the introduction of a range of subjects that were his own.
This is one of Ye's unusual crystal-bright glass bottles from the mid-1890s. It has an extremely well-carved foot and footrim that could easily be mistaken for the work of a crystal carver.