Meriem Collection Sale One / 689

The Meriem Collection. Lot 689

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**A VERY RARE RUYI GUAN INSCRIBED RUBY-RED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, RUYI GUAN ZUO FOUR-CHARACTER INCISED MARK,
1730-1800
Of rounded-rectangular form with flat oval foot, the transparent ruby-red bottle faintly
incised on one side with a bird perched in the uppermost branch of a tree growing beside
an open pavilion with thatched roof set behind a bamboo fence and open gate, the reverse
incised with a poem by the Tang-dynasty poet Zhang Ji and two illegible seals, the foot
incised in regular script Ruyi Guan zuo (Made at the Ruyi Guan), nephrite stopper with
gilt-silver collar
5.7 cm. high
$16,000-20,000

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

This is the only known bottle with a Ruyi Guan mark. The Ruyi Guan was a design studio close to the
eastern Fuyuanmen of Yuanming Yuan. A number of workshops were set up from the Yongzheng
reign onwards to allow for production at the Yuanming Yuan, the Emperor’s favorite home, to
compliment production at the Forbidden City workshops. The Ruyi Guan was one of them, acting as
a center for design and production of a range of works of art, and a place where painters and
architects worked alongside other craftsmen.

The use of the mark indicates an unusual Imperial product and it may have been made as a gift to
the Emperor. We know that from 1724 onwards, on certain annual festival occasions, the Imperial
workshops presented the Emperor with works of art which had been conceived by the artists of the
Imperial workshops as gifts to, rather than by order from the sovereign. This unique bottle may have
been such a piece. For another early incised glass bottle, see the example formerly from the J & J
Collection sold in these rooms, 22 March 2007, Lot 67.

The poem carved on the bottle was excerpted from Jixi fengseng (“For the Monk on the Western
Peak”) by the Tang-dynasty poet Zhang Ji. It reads:

“Amidst the dim pine trees one can hear water dripping
Though it is late at night I cannot sleep
The moon lingers about the Western Peak
As I savor distant memories in front of the hamlet.”

1730–1800

The Meriem Collection. Lot 689

Hugh Moss |