Meriem Collection Sale One / 628

The Meriem Collection. Lot 628

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A FINE INSIDE-PAINTED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
SIGNED YE ZHONGSAN, DATED MID-SUMMER IN THE DINGWEI YEAR, CORRESPONDING TO 1907
Of ovoid form with a flat lip and recessed foot surrounded by a footrim, finely painted
with a continuous design of magpies perched and flying around the spreading branches
of a newly blossoming prunus tree, with further birds perched on rocks beside white
peonies at the base of the tree trunk and a lone bird in flight on the foot, inscribed in
draft script “Composed mid-summer (the fifth month) in the dingwei year by Ye
Zhongsan”, with one seal, yin, coral glass stopper with mother-of-pearl finial and vinyl
collar
5.4 cm. high
$8,000-10,000

P R O V E N A N C E :
Wasserman Collection.
Hugh Moss Ltd.
E X H I B I T E D :
Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, 1992.
L I T E R A T U R E :
Hugh Moss Limited, Chinese Snuff Bottles, Summer 1976, p. 64, no. 175.
JICSBS, Autumn 1982, p. 42.

Magpies (xique) represent happy events, and can also evoke another expression, xibao chunxian
(“The magpie announces the arrival of spring”). Thirty magpies also illustrate a popular tale related
to snuff bottles which is narrated in Yonglu Xianjie, Zhao Zhiqian’s late-nineteenth century book
on snuff and snuff bottles, where a man was tricked into paying a fortune for a porcelain bottle
which seemed to depict each day of the month with a corresponding number of magpies, when
in fact, the trickster had thirty bottles, each painted with a different number of birds, which he
brought out one by one in sequential order as if the bottles were one and the same.

For a very similar bottle, formerly from the Wise collection and now in the Denis Low Collection,
see More Treasures from the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect, p. 349, no. 314. It would appear
that Ye painted two or three wide-mouthed snuff bottles with magpies at Beijing in the spring
of 1907.
1970

The Meriem Collection. Lot 628

Hugh Moss |