Amber Covered Bottle with Magnolia Carving, Qianlong period (1735-1796)
Amber, an organic material, was formed millions of years ago, in the Tertiary period, when certain coniferous trees, now extinct, were exuding resin which sank below the surface of the decaying forest. This translucent brownish red amber covered bottle was carved from one piece of a fossilized mass of amber. It is of a flattened pear shape with the base in the form of a cluster of stems carved in pierced relief. The stems, springing from the base, embrace the bottle, forming a continuous scene of a bird amid flowering Magnolia liliiflora (variously known by Mulan magnolia) branches, carved in high relief and pierced relief. There is a flower bud carved in high relief on the top of the lid. After centuries of formation, this much prized red toned amber with subtle tactile appeal emerges with intricate carving that articulates the spirit of spring.