Meriem Collection Sale One / 618

The Meriem Collection. Lot 618

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A FINE AND RARE BEIJING PAINTED ENAMEL FOLIATE SNUFF DISH
IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, QIANLONG FOUR-CHARACTER MARK IN BLUE ENAMEL
AND LATE IN THE PERIOD, 1770-1799
Of shallow foliate form with oval foot rim, the interior finely painted with long stemmed
poppies growing amidst asters, the reverse painted with leafy foliate scroll
bearing a pink five-petalled flower on the underside of each lobe, the foot inscribed in
blue enamel, Qianlong nian zhi (Made in the Qianlong period)
4.6 cm. long, wood stand
$6,000-8,000

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.

The damp and humid climate of parts of China made it necessary to crush the lumps of snuff that
would form, and this led to the development of flat or dished surfaces. The earliest form of the
snuff dish was apparently integral and can be seen on glass bottles with slightly concave or flat
circular facets on their main sides. At the beginning of the Qing dynasty, it is unlikely that the
Manchus would have used separate snuff dishes, but once they had successfully conquered China,
they quickly adjusted to elegant, courtly life and thus separate dishes may have evolved as a
functional accessory from the mid-Qing dynasty, halfway through the Qianlong period, and then
became standard in the nineteenth century.

Although the vast majority of snuff dishes were not made to match a particular bottle, there is no
doubt that some were. See H. Moss, By Imperial Command. An Introduction to Ch’ing Painted
Enamels, pl. 45, where a Guyue Xuan enamelled glass bottle and dish from the Alex Cussons
Collection is illustrated. Lot 680 in this sale, also a Guyue Xuan enamelled and relief-decorated
glass snuff bottle, has also, quite remarkably, retained its original dish. The enamels and style of
painting suggest that this bottle and dish were products of the last decades of the Qianlong period.

See two quatrefoil dishes of very similar design, from the collection of the Seattle Art Museum, and
illustrated by L.S. Perry, Chinese Snuff Bottles - The Adventures and Studies of a Collector, p. 28,
middle row. See also an enamel-on-copper dish illustrated by Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the
Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 468.

The Meriem Collection. Lot 618

Hugh Moss |