Meriem Collection Sale One / 701

The Meriem Collection. Lot 701

Previous | Thumbnails | Next
Click on the image below for a close up

Of rounded-rectangular form with a flat lip and recessed foot surrounded by a footrim,
finely carved on one main side with three goats, one standing on an outcropping of
rock peering at the vapor-enshrouded sun above a jutting prunus branch and the other
two standing below, the reverse with chrysanthemums growing around an ornamental
rock, all in stark contrast to the translucent, deep sapphire-blue ground, glass stopper
with silver collar
7 cm. high

P R O V E N A N C E :
Hanhai, Beijing, 24 October 1996, lot 119.
Hugh Moss Ltd.
L I T E R A T U R E :
Zhongguo Biyanhu Zhenshang, p. 88, no. 85.

It is extremely rare to find a white overlay on dark sapphire-blue glass bottle, and the masterful and
confident carving on this bottle sets this example apart as one of the most spectacular of all glass
overlay snuff bottles.

The three goats on one side are carved with great skill, the artist creating a sense of depth and
perspective that belies the essentially two-plane carving. The three goats (sanyang) represent
prosperity and renewal at the beginning of the year (sanyang kaitai), an idea reinforced by the sun
(taiyang) on the horizon while the blossoming prunus has long inspired the literati with its fortitude
in blossoming when snow is still on the ground. Flourishing in adversity, it became a powerful
symbol of the Confucian scholar who strived to serve the best interest of his country despite
whatever hardships he might encounter. Along with lotus, orchid and bamboo, the
chrysanthemum is regarded as one of the “Four Gentlemen of flowers”, and has traditionally been
very highly regarded in China. Chrysanthemums are mentioned in such early classical literature as

The Book of Odes, and are symbols of longevity and wealth as well as being the flowers
representing autumn.

The Meriem Collection. Lot 701

Hugh Moss |