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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 89 

Lot 89

Lot 89
Treasury 6, no. 1217 (‘Unusually Large Peaches’)

Famille rose enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain; with a flat lip and recessed slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding convex foot rim; moulded and painted within a recessed convex panel on each main side with a couple in an interior setting, naked except for their shoes and poised to test the joinery of the chair on which the woman reclines, with a low balustrade beyond one couple granting a view into a garden in which a gigantic Buddha’s hand citron (foshou 佛手) is seen between two equally impressive peaches; all other exterior surfaces covered with gold enamel, including the foot rim; the interior unglazed
Jingdezhen, 1790–1830
Height: 5.87 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/1.78 cm
Stopper: glass; vinyl collar

Eldred’s, 13 August 1989, lot SB 473
Robert Hall (1990)

Hall 1990, no. 69
Treasury 6, no. 1217

It would be comforting to cling to the belief that no erotic images could have been made for any court under the moral sway of the censorious Qianlong emperor; unfortunately, things are not so simple. Some erotic bottles without marks are remarkably similar in quality and style to known imperial products with other subjects; there are also reign-marked examples that leave us in no doubt that such wares were produced for the court. By the mid-Qing period, snuff bottles were the playthings of a vast swath of the influential minority, becoming ever-more popular at all levels of society. A significant portion of the upper strata of male society were snuff-takers who would show off their precious snuff bottles among their friends, passing them around so that others might try their snuff. The obvious saucy entertainment value of erotic snuff bottles in predominantly male company assured their popularity. What is perhaps more surprising than their appearance is that it happened so late. Overtly erotic subjects on snuff bottles prior to the last decades of the eighteenth century are exceedingly rare, and the vast majority date from the Jiaqing reign or later, suggesting that it was not a major imperial trend, and had to await the popular demand for snuff bottles before blossoming as subject matter.

One intriguing feature tends to separate erotic moulded porcelains them from other types of imperial production. They are frequently decorated with the gold ground that appears on all three in the Bloch Collection (see also Sale 3, lot 124 and Sale 8, lot 1132).

The enamels and the moulding style here both suggest a Jiaqing date for this bottle, although it is conceivable that it might have been made a little before or after. A very similar bottle was in the Ko Collection (Christie’s, London, 8 November 1976, lot 46).


This is not the Sotheby’s sale catalogue. This is a product of Hugh Moss for the purposes of this website. For the catalogue details please refer to Sotheby’s website or request a copy of a printed sale catalogue from Sotheby’s.


Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=2028&exhibition=14&ee_lang=eng


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