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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IV  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 28 November 2011: Lot 166 

Lot 166


Lot 166
Treasury 6, no.1066 (‘Palace Prunus’)

A 'famille-rose' enamelled copper and gold 'blossoming prunus' snuff bottle

Famille-rose enamels on copper, with gold; with a flat lip and slightly recessed, slightly concave foot surrounded by a protruding convex footrim; painted with the continuous design of a blossoming prunus tree on a ruby-red ground, the foot inscribed in blue regular script Kangxi yuzhi (‘Made by imperial command of the Kangxi emperor’), the interior covered with a patchy, pale turquoise-blue enamel, the interior of the neck with an additional metal lining below the lip, the exposed lip and inner neck gilt, the original copper foot encased in a separate gold footrim
Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 1710–1722
Height: 5.13 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.79/1.25 cm
Stopper: gilt bronze; chased with a formalized floral design; original

Property of a lady of title
Christie’s, London, 26 January 1976, lot 66
Hugh Moss (1981)
The Belfort Collection (1986)

Snuff Bottles of the Ch’ing Dynasty, no. 4
Très précieuses tabatières chinoises, p. 19, no. 247
La Gazette de l’Hôtel Drouot, 4 June 1982
JICSBS, Winter 1986, front cover
Kleiner 1987, no. 1
Orientations, October 1987, p. 44, no. 15
Galeries Lafayette 1990, p. 7, no. 4
Arts of Asia, September–October 1990, p. 96
Kleine Schätze aus China, p. 42 and front cover
CA Live
Die Mitarbeiterzeitung der Creditanstalt, Nr. 3 1993, p. 11
Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 1
Oriental Art, Spring 1994, p. 34
Kleiner 1994a, p. 14, fig. 2.1
Kleiner 1995, no. 1
JICSBS, Autumn 2000, p. 5, fig. 6
Treasury 6, no.1066

Hong Kong Museum of Art, October–December 1978
L’Arcade Chaumet, Paris, June 1982
Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
Galeries Lafayette, Paris, April 1990
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
National Museum of Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

This is one of the most spectacular and intriguing of all Kangxi palace snuff bottles, and the only surviving enamelled metal snuff bottle with a continuous design (as opposed to panels of decoration surrounded by formalized floral designs). It is also striking because of its ruby-red ground – again the only example known from the period on an enamelled metal snuff bottle, although there is an unmarked enamelled glass snuff bottle with a ruby-red ground in the imperial collection (Chang Lin-sheng 1991, p. 111, no. 73). It also has unusually thick gilding covering, in a rare departure from standard practise, on the entire interior of the neck (whose metal lining is unusual) as well as the lip and upper neck rim. The stopper is similarly gilt and is not only obviously the original, but still has what appears to be its original palace-style spoon of the right length and style, with the shaft giving way to a broad, concave, pear-shaped bowl of a type that persisted into the Qianlong period as a standard for enamels on metal and for palace spoons in general. The original copper foot was unusually thin in this case, and the thick gilding elsewhere seems to have prompted the addition of a separate solid-gold fillet fitted over the copper rim.


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