A copper-red porcelain snuff bottle

19th century

the finely potted meiping-shaped bottle decorated in underglaze-blue with eight mythical sea creatures including a sea dragon and a conch shell emitting a vaporous cloud containing a pavilion, the figures reserved against a copper-red wave-pattern ground, the recessed base white-glazed, tiger’s eye stopper

height 6.2 cm without stopper

from a Dutch private collection acquired prior to the 1980’s

The very unusual decoration may possibly originate from the legend of the Eight Immortals, who were believed to possess the power of transforming themselves into swimming monsters while crossing the sea. A moulded famille-rose porcelain bottle with a very similar decoration was in the J&J Collection, Christie’s New York, March 2006, lot no. 13.

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