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Amber Snuff Bottle Carved with Poem

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: Amber, sapphire, ivory spoon
Dimensions: Height: 6 cm, Mouth diameter: 1.2 cm, Foot: 1× 2.8 cm

An eight line regulated verse by the Tang dynasty (618-907) poet Du Fu (712-770) is incised on both sides of this snuff bottle. It is written in the regular script that is instantly recognizable as the style of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795). The poem reads as the follows:   
    Spring clouds above the city cover the walls of the imperial park,   
    At the river pavilion dusk subdues spring's fragrance;   
    Forest blossoms marked with rain appear like wet rouge,   
    Waterweeds stretched by the wind form a long jade belt;   
    The Imperial Dragon Guards halted The Emperor's carriage,   
    In the Hibiscus Hall incense is burnt in vain;   
    When will His Majesty revive the festal party with generous gifts of money,   
    So that I may get tipsy with the beauties with painted lutes?   
  After the poem, the signature of the Qianlong Emperor is carved along with a date corresponding to spring of 1774 (Jiawu year of the Qianlong reign).   
  This snuff bottle has a sapphire stopper with an ivory spoon attached. It still contains some snuff. Amber is fossilized pine sap. It is typically pale yellow, brown, or reddish brown. It smells fragrant when burnt and can be worked for decoration or accessories.

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