Meriem Collection Sale One / 605

The Meriem Collection. Lot 605

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**AN ENAMELED PORCELAIN SNUFF BOTTLE
1916-1925
Of cylindrical form with recessed flat foot, decorated around the sides with five boys
in a garden setting of rocks and bamboo, one boy with his hands covering the eyes of a
boy carrying a basket of peaches and cherries as another boy tilts the basket from behind
spilling the contents to the ground for the other two boys to steal, the foot inscribed in
greyish-blue enamel with a four-character seal mark, Chan zhai zhuren (Master of the
Cicada Studio), tourmaline stopper with vinyl collar
7.6 cm. high
$7,000-9,000

P R O V E N A N C E :
Hugh Moss Ltd.
E X H I B I T E D :
Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, 1992.

There was a major renaissance in porcelain production following the abortive attempt of Yuan
Shikai to form a new dynasty in 1916. His lengthy preparations for rule included orders at Jingde
Zhen for ceramics on a par with those of the Yongzheng and Qianlong eras, leading to some of the
finest enameling ever produced at the center. These skills long outlived the new Emperor. Snuff
bottles from this output are rare, since the habit of snuffing was dying out at the time, but when
they occur they are often of spectacular quality, and this is no exception.

The depiction of children in Chinese art has its roots in Buddhist and Daoist beliefs. By the Tang
dynasty images of healthy children were no longer confined to religious art, but began to appear in
on all kinds of secular art as an auspicious symbol. The depiction of little boys in the decorative arts
became associated with the wish for sons, and through them posterity, which would have been the
main reason for this scene in the early Republican period.

The wish for longevity is symbolized by the boy holding a basket full of peaches, which, based on
legend, grew in the garden of the Daoist goddess Xiwangmu, Queen Mother of the West, and
which conferred longevity on all who ate them.
1916–1925

The Meriem Collection. Lot 605

Hugh Moss |