Meriem Collection Sale One / 611

The Meriem Collection. Lot 611

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With flat lip and foot, molded as segments of bamboo tapering towards the mouth and
covered with a crackled cream-colored glaze, one side molded with a bird peeking
from a silk pouch hung from a green stalk of bamboo and loosely tied with an iron-red
cord with tasseled ends that continue on the reverse below three iron-red bats flitting
amidst multi-colored vapor, the original porcelain stopper molded with the other two
bats of the wufu in flight amidst further vapor
7.8 cm. high

P R O V E N A N C E :
Sotheby’s, London, 3 December 1997, lot 408.

The molding of porcelain was standard practice at Jingde Zhen since long before the snuffbottle
period. Molding allows for easy mass production and is well suited to the manufacture of
porcelain. Instead of forming or decorating each individual piece, a carver uses a single mold, from
which many identical pieces can be turned out. The use of complex molds for snuff bottles, which
included extensive relief decoration and dictated the entire form of the bottle, flourished as an art
from the late Qianlong period into the Jiaqing reign.

The molded decoration on the present lot is unusual and exceptionally detailed. It is also
extraordinary that the bottle retains its original stopper. A bottle that was probably made from
the same mold, but left undecorated and covered with a monochrome, creamy-white glaze,
is in the Bloch Collection, illustrated in Robert Hall, Chinese Snuff Bottles I, no. 64. Only one
other example is recorded from this very mold and was in the Hunter Collection.

The Meriem Collection. Lot 611

Hugh Moss |