Meriem Collection Sale One / 645

The Meriem Collection. Lot 645

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**AN UNUSUAL CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL-DECORATED SNUFF BOTTLE
1760-1820
Of flattened pear shape with flat lip and recessed foot surrounded by a footrim, the
bottle decorated on each main side with a shou medallion flanked by stylized pairs of
kui dragons, within a narrow eight-lobed turquoise border surrounded by small foliate
sprays, with floral bands on the narrow sides, all reserved on a textured gilt-metal
ground below bands of ruyi heads and key fret encircling the neck, glass stopper with
gilt-metal collar
5.5 cm. high
$7,000-9,000

P R O V E N A N C E :
Robert Hall, London.

This bottle belongs to a group of bottles from the mid-Qing period, all probably from the same
workshops, all of which bear the typically courtly design of kui dragons surrounding central shou
characters, the only difference lying in the color of the enamels used and whether the cloisons
were completely filled, or only partially, as here.

These cloisonné enamel bottles have thin strips of wire soldered onto the copper or bronze body,
creating separate channels called cloisons, which are then filled with different-colored enamels and
fired in a kiln at low temperatures for a short period of time. In the case of this example, however,
only some areas were infilled, providing a design in relief against the gilded ground. For another
example decorated in this technique, see a magnificent double vase, dated to 1786, in the Uldry
collection (see H. Brinker and A. Lutz, Chinese . The Pierre Uldry Collection, no. 304). For another
snuff bottle of the group, see Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J
Collection, no. 267. See also one illustrated in Chinese Snuff Bottles in the Seattle Art Museum,
pl. 55, lower left; one in the collection of the Marquess of Exeter with its original stopper,
illustrated by H. Moss, Chinese Snuff Bottles No. 6, E. 30; one with original stopper illustrated by
L.S. Perry, Chinese Snuff Bottles. The Adventures & Studies of a Collector, no. 162; one in the
Denis Low Collection, illustrated by R. Kleiner, Treasures from the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect,
p. 212, no. 229; and another in M. Hughes The Blair Bequest. Chinese Snuff Bottles from the
Princeton University Art Museum, no. 339. One more extremely rare version of this design is
illustrated in the exhibition catalogue, Laurence Souksi, Merveilles de la Miniature Chinoise.
Flacons-Tabatières de Chine de la Collection du Commandeur, Paris, 2000, no. 2.

The main difference between this technique of partial filling and the fully-filled technique lies in the
final finish of the enamels. With the latter, once sufficient layers of enamel were fired into the
cloisons they were polished flat, whereas with the present type the enamels were left a little in
relief, giving a more jewel-like appearance.
1760–1820

The Meriem Collection. Lot 645

Hugh Moss |