Mysteries of the Ancient Moon

16 a section on overlay glass bottles, it has sometimes been misinterpreted as referring to a group of five-color overlay glass snuff bottles, but the use of the term “ five colors ” to designate famille-rose enamels is so commonplace in the Imperial records and other later Qing publications, that there can no longer be any doubt as to his intended meaning. Richard Lynn ’ s translation of Zhao continues, “ There are also those with painted enamel decoration, where short poems are inscribed in empty spaces, with the base inscribed Guyue Xuan. Those that are inscribed Qianlong nianzhi [Made in the Qianlong period] are especially beautiful. ” Zhao then proceeds to identify a distinct group of Guyue Xuan wares which are enameled on a carved, relief ground, a type familiar to snuff-bottle collectors. “ There are also those that are carved with mountains of the immortals, with pavilion towers, rare birds, and wondrous beasts, all decorated with enamels.... ” Zhao offers no information about the origin of the term or the wares, confining himself to simply noting their existence and, by referring to the reign mark, identifying them as having been made during the Qianlong period. Today we know that the Guyue Xuan was a pavilion overlooking an enclosed courtyard of the Jian yuan (Garden of Reflection), which was a small part of the Changchunyuan, in turn part of the Yuanmingyuan complex of gardens to the west of the Imperial City in Beijing ( figs. 2, 3 ). The Changchunyuan was intended as a retirement home for the Qianlong Emperor and construction was begun as early as 1751, but the Jian yuan, including the Guyue Xuan, was not completed until 1767. The rediscovery of the Guyue Xuan was due to the architectural detective work of He Chongyi and Zeng Zhaofen who re-created the lost buildings on paper in the 1970s and 1980s. Their meticulous reconstruction of the Changchunyuan led to the discovery of the Guyue Xuan. They published their findings and the detailed reconstruction of the plans in 1981. The significance of their discovery was passed on to snuff bottle enthusiasts by Peter Y. K. Lam, who has provided us with so much solid and invaluable research in our field over the past few years. 3 Peter Lam informs us that the Jiaqing Emperor ordered an extensive reconstruction of the Jian yuan in 1810, at which time the Guyue Xuan may have been demolished. When the pavilion disappeared this minor studio name slipped from memory as anything other than the designation for a S ince I am currently focused on ceramics and enamels in preparation for Volume Six of the Bloch Catalogue, 1 I would like to examine an intriguing range of enameled glass wares from the Qianlong reign ( fig. 1 ) , all of which are associated in one way or another with the name Guyue Xuan, which is usually translated as “ Ancient Moon Pavilion. ” Whatever the original impulse may have been that linked the name Guyue Xuan with a small group of experimental, enameled glasswares in mid-1767, it had a considerable effect on Palace enameling. It led to the impressive enameled wares of the classic Guyue Xuan group and to the training of a small group of enamelers who apparently worked independently of their more highly trained and artistic counterparts already employed at the court. Finally, it provided us with a series of fascinating dated and signed bottles from the decade or so following 1767. In the 1880s the literatus and snuff and snuff-bottle connoisseur Zhao Zhiqian mentioned the term “ Guyue Xuan ” at the end of a section on glass overlay snuff bottles which was translated by Richard Lynn in our Journal . I paraphrase as follows with his permission and help in re-considering the original translation: “ Separate from these there is another type, the Guyuexuan , which has a white ground and is painted with enamels. ” 2 For “ white ground ” Zhao used the term “ clam shell jade, ” and for “ enamel painting ” the traditional designation “ decorated in five colors. ” Since this appears immediately following MYSTERIES OF THE ANCIENT MOON Hugh M. Moss Fig. 1. Guyue Xuan .