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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 189 

Lot 189

Lot 189
Treasury 2, no. 206 (‘The Fire-breathing Dragon Quartz’)

Quartz (dendritic jasper-agate with crystal); well hollowed, with a concave lip and a recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding, rounded footrim; carved with mask-and-ring handles.
Possibly imperial, 1740–1850
Height: 5.74 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.51/1.68 cm
Stopper: stained bone; silver collar

Ralph M. Chait Galleries Inc. (1967)
Margaret Prescott Wise
Edgar and Roberta Wise (1995)
Robert Kleiner (1996)

Treasury 2, no. 206

This is the sort of quartz specimen that is sent to try us. It has one fairly large, irregular area of crystal, surrounded by jasper-agate, areas of solid and dendritic jasper, and, just for good measure, seams of more conventional dendritic chalcedony, or moss agate. It is, yet again, a demonstration of the difficulties in accurately describing the quartz family, since various parts of the bottle, if isolated, would attract different names. Always, though, one could fall back on ‘quartz’, as we have in the caption, resorting to a little more precision in parentheses.

The bottle itself, apart from its material fascination, is superbly made, of perfect formal integrity, well hollowed, and as well detailed at lip and foot as any, with an exceptionally well carved and entirely symmetrical foot rim. It also has a feature found on many of the finest glass snuff bottles attributable to the court: the foot itself, within the well-controlled footrim, is completely flat and exquisitely finished right up to the point where it meets the vertical of the footrim. Few of these features alone would have been exclusive to court production, but when several occur in the same example they are a useful guide to a possible source.


This is not the Sotheby’s sale catalogue. This is a product of Hugh Moss for the purposes of this website. For the catalogue details please refer to Sotheby’s website or request a copy of a printed sale catalogue from Sotheby’s


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