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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IV  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 28 November 2011: Lot 63 

Lot 63


Lot 63
Treasury 5, no.936 (‘True To the Pink ‘)

A sapphire-blue and pale pink glass 'mandarin ducks' snuff bottle

Transparent sapphire-blue and transparent, streaky, pale pink glass, the former with a few scattered small air bubbles, the latter suffused with air bubbles of different sizes, some elongated; with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding flattened footrim; carved as a single overlay with a continuous design of formalized waves with, on one main side, a mandarin duck with a formalized lotus flower and, on the other, a mandarin duck beneath the sun and formalized clouds
Height: 5.82 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.69/1.68 cm
Stopper: tourmaline

Albert Pyke
Sydney L. Moss Ltd. (1963)
Elisabeth and Ladislas Kardos
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 1 July 1985, lot 31

Vancouver colour-slide folder, no. 64
JICSBS, Winter 1995, p.10
Treasury 5, no.936

Vancouver Centennial Museum, Canadian Society for Asian Arts, October 1977

This is among the most spectacular and best carved of a series of bottles of this subject, which appears to be mostly from the nineteenth century. On some examples of this subject, the carving is relatively crude. While the design may have been introduced during the closing decades of the eighteenth century, possibly at the court, the majority are more likely to date from the nineteenth century. After the Taiping Rebellion, however, glassmaking appears to have recovered from a period of decline, and this excellent example was possibly produced during the period of renaissance.

Whenever it was made, the combination here is extremely rare, with a bubble-suffused, soft pink ground and very pale, sapphire-blue overlay.

Several other examples of this subject are published, but see, for instance, Sotheby’s, New York, 22 March 1999, lot 40, for one in green overlay on a thick snowstorm ground, not as well carved as this example, but so similar in design that it may have come from the same source; Sotheby’s, New York, 22 March 1999, lot 43b, for a more crudely carved yellow overlay on an amber-coloured ground, also from the same design, but a looser version, which can hardly be earlier than the first half of the nineteenth century, and Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 29 April 1992, lot 360, for a small bottle with blue overlay on a milky ground, which might be from the last years of the eighteenth century but more likely to be from the following one. This entire group may represent a regional style rather than a later development of the courtly style.


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Hugh Moss |