Meriem Collection Sale One / 614

The Meriem Collection. Lot 614

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The bottle with concave lip and shallow circular footrim, the cylindrical body decorated
in underglaze blue with groups of boys at play amidst bats, one above the foot, two at
the shoulder and three in flight around the waisted neck, the beige glaze with irregular
crackle, the foot with apocryphal Chenghua reign mark, pierced gilt-bronze stopper
5.9 cm. high

P R O V E N A N C E :
Elisabeth and Ladislas Kardos, no. 377.

The general shape of this bottle, with a number of minor variations to the base and precise mouth
and neck form, was very popular during the nineteenth century. This form was probably inspired by
a group of late-eighteenth or early-nineteenth-century Imperial bottles decorated with dragons and
imitating pillars wrapped with dragon-carpets (see lot 634, for example). This early group often has
a biscuit foot cut with concentric circles, a strictly cylindrical form, and compressed, widely flared
neck. In the present case, however, the foot is of the more standard, typically nineteenth-century
type for cylindrical bottles, and bears an apocryphal Chenghua mark. As a rule the use of earlier
reign marks on porcelain snuff bottles did not begin until the first half of the nineteenth century.

This theme carries a range of symbolism based upon what the children are holding, allowing for
several rebuses but with an overriding theme of a wish for male progeny, so important in
Confucian society. The image of the bat embodies a wish for happiness or good fortune.

The Meriem Collection. Lot 614

Hugh Moss |