A RARE CHINESE ENAMELLED GLASS 'PRUNUS' SNUFF BOTTLE
18TH CENTURY OR LATER
The flattened globular body surmounted by a short gently tapering neck, finely painted all over with many twisting gnarled branches of white prunus blossoms and buds, the design reserved on a black ground, with gilt to the rim and oval foot, the base with the reign mark in blue enamel, 5.3cm. The decoration on this snuff bottle was achieved by applying each coloured enamel separately to the plain glass body and firing successively at the appropriate temperature for each colour. The technical process of firing painted enamels on glass was significantly more challenging than that for porcelain or metal objects. As the melting point of glass is similar to that of enamel, accurate temperature control was crucial: if the temperature was too high then the glass body would melt, but if it was too low, then the enamel would not bond to the glass with the desired colour. Enamelled glass snuff bottles are, therefore, considerably rarer than their porcelain or metal-bodied counterparts. Cf. The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Snuff Bottles, p.83, no.131 for a similarly decorated Yongzheng mark and period metal-bodied enamel snuff bottle and p.92, no.141 for a Qianlong period metal-bodied snuff bottle painted with flowering prunus branches on a red ground; see also Harmony and Integrity: The Yongzheng Emperor and his Times, p.197, no.II-25 for another Yongzheng metal-bodied example with similar decoration in the collection of the National Palace Museum; see also Limpid Radiance: A Special Exhibition of Glass Artifacts from the National Palace Museum Collection, p.205, no.231 for another Qianlong period enamelled glass snuff bottle decorated with flowers on a black ground.
Estimate 15 000 - 20 000 GBP