An inside-painted rock-crystal 'portraits' snuff bottle
Ma Shaoxuan family The body with gently slanted shoulders rising to a cylindrical neck, the interior is intricately painted with a portrait of a lady dressed in elaborate headpieces, the reverse with a male in winter outfit. 6.4cm high.
This inside-painted snuff bottle may be an imitation of a Ma Shaoxuan example, formerly in the J & J Collection, illustrated by Emily Byrne Curtis, Reflected Glory in a Bottle, New York, 1980, pp.87-90 and Moss, Graham and Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, New York, 1993, p.700, no.427, then sold in Christies New York, 29 March 2006, lot 34. The unsigned inside-painted snuff bottle by Ma Shaoxuan is understood to depict the portrait of a famous Peking drama actor, Shi Xiaofu (1846-1900). A native of Suzhou, Shi has a very successful career in Beijing and retired and passed away about 1900. Shi became a teacher and active in the administrative affairs of the Theatre Guild.
The reverse of the bottle depicts Wang Yaoqing (1881-1954) who was another famous Tan actor, one of the first group of actors training female actresses. Famous opera stars such as Mei Lanfang (1894-1961) were also their students.
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