Meriem Collection Sale One / 626

The Meriem Collection. Lot 626

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**A VERY RARE GREEN OVERLAY WHITE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
PROBABLY BEIJING, 1770-1820
Of compressed pear shape with flat lip and recessed foot with circular footrim, finely
carved around the sides with a continuous scene of plants and vegetables growing from a
band of rocks above the foot, with a radish and cabbage flanking a prunus tree on one
side, another prunus tree on one of the narrow sides and an orchid plant below flitting
bats and butterflies on the other main side, stained green agate stopper with gilt-metal
collar
5.4 cm. high
$12,000-18,000

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 exceptional quality of the carving on this bottle sets it apart from the rest of the overlay glass
bottles produced in Beijing. Unusually well carved and finished, the design is elegant, well
composed and displays a painterly, artistic touch which is more commonly seen in bottles produced
by Li Junting and his Yangzhou-based school. The treatment of the bats and butterflies, combined
with the delicate variation in the depth of carving, would seem to suggest that certain Beijing styles
in glass overlay may have inspired the artistry in Yangzhou, as this is similar to some of Li Junting’s
early work.

See a blue overlay glass snuff bottle from the Bloch Collection, illustrated by Moss, Graham, Tsang,
A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no, 916, which was also produced at the Imperial
glassworks in Beijing, and is similarly carved.

The bat is a symbol of happiness and good fortune as the word for happiness (fu), is pronounced
the same as the word for bat. The inclusion of the blossoming prunus expresses a wish for
longevity (and represents, alternatively, the perfect gentleman). Adding to this visual pun, the
butterfly (die) reinforces the idea of a long life, as it is a homonym for a septuagenarian or
octogenarian.
1770–1820

The Meriem Collection. Lot 626

Hugh Moss |