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photographer E-Yaji.
Snuff Bottles from the Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part II  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 23 November 2010: Lot 77 

Lot 77

Lot 77
Treasury 6, no. 1104

Colourful Fungi

Famille rose enamels on translucent white glass; with a flat lip and protruding flat foot; carved in relief with a continuous partial design, coloured and completed with enamels, of two chi dragons, in similar poses, each holding a stem of double-headed lingzhi in its mouth, the fungi growing with long leaves; the foot inscribed in pale iron-red regular script Guyue xuan (‘Ancient Moon Pavilion’)
Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 1775–1799
Height: 5.48 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.78/1.65 cm
Stopper: tourmaline; vinyl collar

Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart

Lot 77 Provenance:
Sotheby’s, New York, 27 June 1986, ot 67 (front cover illustration)

Kleiner 1987, no. 18
JICSBS, Autumn 1988, p. 7, fig. 3
Kleiner 1994a, p. 19, fig. 2.3
JICSBS, Spring 2006, p. 29, fig. 36, top right
Treasury 6, no. 1104

Sydney L. Moss Ltd, London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993

Lot 77 Commentary
This bottle exhibits the phenomenon of scratches on the white glass going beneath the enamels, which we postulate is due to the need to preserve a certain amount of roughness on the glass to hold the enamels better. The lingzhi heads and woody stems in relief here would seem incomplete without the leaves that are painted onto the lower plane, at least to anyone who knew that this type of elaborate lingzhi was usually depicted with leaves.

This bottle, Treasury 6, no. 1103, and a similar bottle once in the collection of Lilla Perry (Moss 1978, p. 18, fig. 20) present one of the rarer and more impressive designs of the classic Guyue xuan group. This one distinguishes itself by freeing the chi-dragons from the narrow sides and integrating them into the main-side decoration to a greater degree. That does not necessarily indicate that this bottle is later, of course; they were all probably produced over a short period of time in the late Qianlong.


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Hugh Moss |