A Carved Crystal Snuff Bottle, Imperial, Probably Palace Workshops, 1750-1810. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2013

Of flattened, rounded form with concave oval foot, the bottle is finely carved on both sides with a smiling boy dressed in long, flowing robes and shown holding a small banner with a yinyangsymbol. The narrow sides are carved with stylized lotus branches. 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm.) high, rose quartz stopper. Estimate: $12,000 - $15,000

Provenance: Hugh Moss, Ltd., London, 1982.

Notes: This bottle belongs to a series of superb-quality imperial crystal snuff bottles from the height of snuff bottle production during the Qianlong period. Characteristically of compressed forms and often with flared necks, they are carved from the finest crystal relatively free of flaws. They are typically carved in low relief with a range of auspicious subjects that fill all the available space of both main sides. For an example carved with ancient coins see Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, The Mary and George Bloch Collection, Vol. 2, Part 2, quartz, Hong Kong, 1998, pp. 419-21, p. 335. Though rare, they also appear in glass imitating crystal.

Christie's. The Hildegard Schonfeld Collection of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles. 21 March 2013. New York, Rockefeller Plaza.