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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part V  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2012: Lot 10 

Lot 10


Lot 10
Treasury 6, no.1086 (‘Private Life’)

A ‘famille-rose’ enamelled glass ‘literati in landscape’ snuff bottle
Famille rose enamels on translucent white glass; with a flat lip and protruding flat foot; painted with a continuous riverside, rocky landscape scene in which two scholars, one with a walking staff, are seen in an open terrace built on stilts in the shallows of the river, while a third, also with a walking staff, crosses a plank bridge towards a moored, covered boat at the foreshore
Attributable to the palace workshops, Beijing, 1750–1799
Height: 7.6 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.7/1.32 cm
Stopper: coral

Hong Kong Auctioneers & Estate Agency, 12 June 1993, lot 312
Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd. (1994)

Kleiner 1995,no. 37
Treasury 6, no.1086

British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

This purely Chinese, traditional, linear style, where the entire painting rests on its calligraphic line and the colouring is almost incidental, is extremely rare on palace enamels on metal and glass. If you mentally remove the colours and ink-washes from a traditional Chinese painting, you will usually end up with a still-coherent scene, as you would here; if you do that with the majority of palace enamels on metal and glass, the scene would be incomplete. One of the few enamelled glass bottles from the palace that relates to the present example in terms of the brushwork is the one from the Blücher Collection (Moss 1971a, no. 270). It is a small, Qianlong-marked bottle that probably dates from the mid-reign and is painted entirely in Chinese style without any hint of European influence. Because of this, it has, over the years, been somewhat overlooked.

Other than the comparisons with other bottles that are offered in Treasury 6 in the commentary on this bottle, features that suggest a Beijing origin for this bottle are the type of glass, the protruding flat foot, and the faceless figures, a feature of other Qianlong palace enamels. The white glass is typical of mid-to-late-Qianlong palace products that ended up being enamelled. Although appearing very white, it has an inner layer of more translucent, almost greyish glass that is common enough on courtly white glass of the period. The protruding flat foot was a frequent feature of Imperial enamels from the mid- to late reign. The faceless figures find a precedent in a very rare, small group of early-Qianlong palace enamels on glass with figures, two of which are recorded, one in the Meriem Collection, one in the Franz Collection, that are from the earlier part of the reign. That group, in turn, inspired the small group of Qianlong-marked, landscape enamelled glass bottles with simulated ‘puddingstone’ surrounds (see, for instance, JICSBS, Winter 2005, p. 15, fig. 7) that we believe date from the second half of the Qianlong reign, despite occasional attributions to Ye Bengqi in some publications. (When shown photographs in 1974, Ye was adamant that neither he nor his father did them, and Wang Xisan also considers them genuine.)


Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1429&exhibition=10&ee_lang=eng


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