Meriem Collection Sale One / 674

The Meriem Collection. Lot 674

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**A WELL-CARVED RED OVERLAY GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
ATTRIBUTED TO BEIJING, 1750-1800
Of compressed spherical form with flat lip and convex foot surrounded by a footrim,
carved through the transparent red layer to the bubble-suffused colorless ground on one
main side with a scholar accompanied by a young boy, a bird flying above them,
descending a plank bridge leading from an open pavilion raised on pilings above froth capped
waves towards, on the other main side, a fisherman seen crossing a bridge above
waves to a pavilion on the opposite shore, the two scenes connected by pierced rocks,
bamboo and trees with overhanging branches on the narrow sides, glass stopper with
gilt-metal collar
7 cm. high
$12,000-15,000

P R O V E N A N C E :
Hugh Moss Ltd.

Subjects of this kind, taken from everyday life, novels, legend and mythology, became popular
during the Qianlong period. The ground is the typical “snowstorm” so widely used during the
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Zhao Zhiqian considered red overlays on a “snowstorm”
ground to be the best of old overlays. He wrote, “The most popular type is cloudy glass with a red
overlay (taohong) and those of this type with a ’lotus root powder’ ground are thought to be the
best”. The carved decoration seems to depict two of the Four Noble Occupations (scholar, farmer,
fisherman and woodcutter).

The pavilion perched on stilts in a fast-flowing current, a reasonably common image in Chinese
art, may be interpreted as embodying the maxim: “He who can shoulder great responsibility in
dangerous situations” (zhongliu dizhu). The image of the pavilion on stilts in a fast-flowing
current suggests the first part of the maxim, zhongliu (mid-current). The image of the water
flowing against (di) the stilts (zhu) completes the phrase. The bamboo (zhu) reinforces the pun
on the character for stilts.

See a red overlay glass bottle with a scene of two fishermen illustrated by Moss, Graham, Tsang,
The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 372, which echoes the everyday genre scene
depicted here.
1750–1800

The Meriem Collection. Lot 674

Hugh Moss |