An inside-painted glass 'Qiao sisters' snuff bottle
Ma Shaoxuan, circa 1900 Of rectangular form, beautifully painted with two female figures sitting side-by-side on a chair, the reverse with a series of kaishu inscriptions with signature and seal mark of the artist. 5.8cm high.
Exhibited: Chinese Snuff Bottles, jointly presented by Hong Kong Chinese Snuff Bottle Collectors Study Group and the Urban Council, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 15 October to 26 November 1977
Illustrated: Paul Braga, Hong Kong Chinese Snuff Bottle Collectors, Arts of Asia, November-December 1976, p.84 Chinese Snuff Bottles, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1977, p.113, pl.275
Ma Shaoxuan (1867-1939), based in Beijing, specialised in portrait bottles, especially historical figures and actors. His bottles usually have one side of painting, the reverse with calligraphy. He was inspired by the composition of the Qiao Sisters, which originally derived from a woodblock print. For comparisons between Ma's artworks and woodblock print examples, see Gayle Gray Laverlochère, Romance of the Three Kingdoms source of Snuff Bottle Subjects, JICSBS, Spring 1988, p.12.
For another inside-painted 'Qiao sisters' snuff bottle example by Ma Shaoxuan, dated to 1901 in the Mary and George Bloch collection, illustrated by Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles: The Mary and George Bloch Collection, Vol.4, Inside-Painted, Hong Kong, 2000, pp.392-393, no.586, was sold in these rooms, 28 November 2011, lot 40.
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