An inside-painted glass 'crane and landscape' snuff bottle
Zhou Leyuan, dated 1892 Of rectangular form with gently sloping shoulders, the interior intricately painted with a continuous scene of a crane perching on rockwork under a plum blossom tree, the reverse with additional bamboo growths. 6cm high.
Zhou Leyuan (active 1882-1893) liked to imitate the spirit of the great masters by combining them with his own painting style. His technique also bore the characteristics of the Five Dynasties Masters Dong Yuan (?-962) and Ju Ran (unknown) of drawing small stones on the summits of mountains, such as the painting of 'Xiao and Xiang Rivers' by Dong Yuan, which is preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing.
One of the inscriptions can be paraphrased as "in the snowy weather, a crane will stay guarding the plum blossoms", which is in reference to the Northern Song poet Lin Bu (967-1028), who devoted his time to planting plums and raising cranes.
The genre of "crane and landscape" was always painted towards the later period of Zhou Leyuan's life. Among all the existing Zhou's "crane and landscape" snuff bottles, a closely related example from the Humphrey K. F. Hui collection has the closest resemblance to the current lot in terms of the subject matter, poem and dating. See Inkplay in Microcosm: Inside-Painted Chinese Snuff Bottles, The Humphrey K. F. Hui Collection, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Art Museum, Hong Kong, 2002, pl.21.
Compare also a similar snuff bottle by Ye Zhongsan, illustrated in Moss, Graham & Tsang, A Treasure of Chinese Snuff Bottles: The Mary and George Bloch Collection, Vol.4, Inside-Painted, Hong Kong, 2000, pp.190-191, no.504.
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