The World in a Bottle in the World

22 The World in a Bottle in the World at the End of the Qing Empire: Part 2: Yangzhou Overlay Glass Hugh M. Moss and Stuart H. Sargent Fig. 27. Another Xiaomei Wang Su snuff bottle. Fig. 28. Two Xiaomei Wang Su snuff bottles. Fig. 26. A Xiaomei Wang Su snuff bottle. W hat we have until now dubbed the “ Li Junting ” school of glass-overlay bottles seemed to us originally to be from the late nineteenth century; more recently we decided the cyclical dates that appear on some of them should be interpreted as sixty years earlier. We now believe that what should be renamed the “ Yangzhou school ” was a much longer lasting tradition, and that there are dated or datable bottles from both ends of the century. Evidence for earlier dates centers on the appearance of the name Xiaomei 小某 (the second character being an ancient form of the character mei 梅 ) on quite a few Yangzhou-school bottles. 24 Xiaomei was the courtesy name of Wang Su 王素 , who lived from 1794 to 1877. To be sure, Xiaomei was a name also used by other men in the nineteenth century, but one published bottle leaves us in no doubt as to with whom we are dealing ( fig. 26 ). 25 One narrow side of that bottle is inscribed with both names: Xiaomei Wang Su zuo 小梅王素作 (Made by Xiaomei, Wang Su). Another bottle of the same shape is known, with similar subject matter and narrow-side inscriptions; not only does it have the same color scheme and style, it is dated, providing us with a likely date for the two ( fig. 27 ). 26 It is inscribed Bingshen Xiaomei zuo 丙申小某作 (Made by Xiaomei in the bingshen year); the cyclical date corresponds to 1836 (or, of course, 1896). Two other bottles of similarly generous proportions are also dated to the same year ( fig. 28 ), in one case confirming the preference for this color combination in that year, complete with yellow- ochre narrow sides ( fig. 28 , top). Only one other Xiaomei-signed bottle bears a date, and it is a puzzling one ( fig. 29 ). It is inscribed Xinsi Xiaomei zuo 辛巳小某作 (Made by Xiaomei in the xinsi year); the date corresponds to 1821 (or 1881). The