Meriem Collection Sale One / 633

The Meriem Collection. Lot 633

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Of compressed ovoid form with flat lip and recessed oval foot
surrounded by a footrim, one side enameled with two quails
standing beneath arching stems of millet rising amidst dark pink
morning glory (convolvulus) to one side opposite blue asters to
the other side, the reverse inscribed with a poetic inscription in
black clerical script on a pale creamy ground reading “Two
friends arrive at an auspicious land; the thriving three crops are
signs of a bountiful year,” each panel supported on stylized blue
waves and framed by tapering green bands with repeated wan
symbols separated on the narrow sides by slender dotted pink
seams, all below a band of pink petals bound with a yellow dotted
blue ribbon encircling the waisted neck, the exposed
metal at the foot and neck gilded, the base inscribed in blue
enamel regular script Qianlong nian zhi (Made in the Qianlong
period), gilt-metal stopper with integral collar
5.1 cm. high

P R O V E N A N C E :
Vad Jelton.
Hugh Moss Ltd.
E X H I B I T E D :
Hong Kong Museum of Art, Snuff Bottles of the Ch’ing Dynasty,
20 October-3 December 1978, no. 13.
Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, 1992.
L I T E R A T U R E :
Chinese Snuff Bottles No. 4, p. 26, figs. 1 and 4.
JICSBS, December 1975, P7, no. 19.
Hong Kong Museum of Art, Snuff Bottles of the Ch’ing Dynasty,
20 October-3 December 1978, p. 51, no. 13.
Catalogue, Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, 1992.

For an extensive discussion on the Imperial Palace enamel workshops in
Beijing, see Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle,
The J & J Collection, pp. 268-295.

It is extremely rare to find an enamel on copper snuff bottle with an
inscription incorporated into the design. The inscription here refers to the
subject of a pair of quails beneath ripe millet sprays. Two quails standing
under stalks of ripe millet was a particularly popular subject at Court
during the eighteenth century. The subject appears on a set of Imperial
Jiaqing-marked porcelain bottles illustrated in Chinese Snuff Bottles in
the Collection of the National Palace Museum, no. 94, and on the
Imperial enamel and coral bottle in the Baur Collection illustrated by B.
Stevens in The Collector’s Book of Chinese Snuff Bottles, no. 1032,
which can now be dated to the Yongzheng period. An auspicious rebus
also appears to be implied, since the Chinese character for “quail” (an)
has the same sound as the character for “peace” and the ear of grain is
a pun for “year” (sui), the combination suggesting a wish for peace year
after year. The three heads of grain form a desire for an excellent harvest
as well.

The Meriem Collection. Lot 633

Hugh Moss |