Meriem Collection Sale One / 667

The Meriem Collection. Lot 667

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Finely carved and softly polished as a white eggplant with faint
russet markings issuing from an applied and finely detailed green
jade calyx, the jadeite stem-form stopper possibly original
7 cm. long

P R O V E N A N C E :
Charlotte Horstmann Ltd., Hong Kong

The present lot is part of a well-known group of bottles, made in some
quantity for the Court, usually in sets of ten or twenty bottles. The
Court had a large, constant demand for snuff bottles for the many
members of the Imperial family as well as for gifts to be widely
distributed. Apart from the sets in the Imperial collection (see Snuff
Bottles in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, pp. 142 and
145, nos. 112 and 115), others are known, including a number of
individual bottles in collections which may originally have been parts of
a set. Sets of ten or twenty often indicate an Imperial order, or a tribute
to the Emperor. Individual examples are illustrated in Moss, Graham,
Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 1, Jade, no. 70; and in
M. Hughes, The Blair Bequest. Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Princeton
University Art Museum, p. 39, no. 4.

It has been suggested that the aubergine is a symbol of fertility, as it is
fast-growing and each fruit has numerous seeds, which may explain why
so many sets of these were made. Apart from its obvious symbolism, the
form of the fruit would have lent itself well to connoisseurs of snuff
bottles - its shape providing a pleasant experience as it was clasped in
the hand.

The Meriem Collection. Lot 667

Hugh Moss |