A finely enameled glass snuff bottle, attributed to Ye Benqi or Wang Xisan, circa 1963-1965

A finely enameled glass snuff bottle, attributed to Ye Benqi or Wang Xisan, circa 1963-1965. Estimate $12,000 – $16,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The opaque white glass bottle is of somewhat irregular, circular from with a raised ridge in the center on either side, finely painted on one side with two branches bearing pomegranates and a blossom and on the other with two branches of peaches and peonies. The base is incised with an apocryphal Qianlong mark. 2 ¼ in. (5.7 cm.) high, metal stopper

Provenance: SB Collection, England.
Robert Hall, London, 2011.
Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd., Hong Kong Kong, 2011.
Ruth and Carl Barron Collection, Belmont, Massachusetts, no. 5237.

Literature: Robert Hall, The SB Collection, Chinese Snuff Bottles XV, London, 2011, no. 90.

NotesBorn in 1938, Wang Xisan (Wang Ruicheng) was the star pupil of Ye Bengqi, the son of Ye Zhongsan, the artist who revitalized the Beijing school of painting in the late 1950s. Ye Bengqi took up the art of enameling again in the early 1960s to teach Wang Xisan, and it is sometimes difficult with earlier Wang Xisan bottles to distinguish them from his teachers', or in some cases, from earlier Qianlong examples. The two-character reign mark in seal script seen on the present bottle was only used on enameled wares in the early 1960s.

For a discussion on the artist Wang Xisan see Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, the Mary and George Bloch Collection, Volume 6, Part 1, Hong Kong, 2008, pp. 273-275. The authors note, “As an artistic genius, Wang rapidly became one of the finest of all enamellers, both artistically and technically, that China has ever produced.” The artist paints glass snuff bottles and interior-painted snuff bottles, showing great artistry in both. The present example is typical of the quality of his painting on glass. Generally executed in famille rose enamels with floral subjects beneath a decorative border, his works echo the best enameled bottles produced at the imperial workshops during the reign of the Qianlong emperor.

Christie's. THE RUTH AND CARL BARRON COLLECTION OF FINE CHINESE SNUFF BOTTLES: PART I, 16 September 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza