Meriem Collection Sale One / 637

The Meriem Collection. Lot 637

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Click on the image below for a close up

Of flattened ovoid form with flat lip and recessed foot surrounded by a footrim, each
side carved through the sapphire blue layer with five bats (wufu) encircling a shou
character, with mask-and-ring handles on the narrow sides, glass stopper with vinyl
6.4 cm. high

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 auspicious symbolism of bats and shou (longevity) characters is typical of a range of Court
designs, and snuff bottles and other works of art decorated with such motifs would frequently be
distributed by the Emperor as gifts. The bat (fu) and shou medallion, together with the form of the
bottle (ping) provides the rebus fushou ping’an (“May you be blessed with good fortune, long life
and peace”).

The inclusion of five bats on each main side of the bottle is also significant - five bats represent the
Five Blessings (a long life, riches, health, love of virtue, and a natural death). They also form the
rebus Wufu qingshou (“five bats extend good wishes on one’s birthday”).

The sapphire-blue overlay, combined with the mask handles with strictly circular rings, and the
carving style in general all suggest that this bottle would have been made at the Palace workshops.
An example of this design in dark brown overlay on a clear ground, formerly from the Marian
Mayer Collection (no. 260), is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, Robert Hall, Chinese Snuff
Bottles III, p. 130, no. 110, while one with black overlay on white ground is illustrated by M.
Hughes, The Blair Bequest. Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Princeton University Art Museum,
p. 145, no. 179.

The Meriem Collection. Lot 637

Hugh Moss |