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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 185 

Lot 185

Lot 185
Treasury 5, no. 855 (‘Blue Abundance’)
HK$68,750

Translucent, deep lavender blue glass with an inner, milky lavender layer; with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; carved with a continuous rocky landscape scene with a man fishing in a stream beneath two pine trees, a building with a flag-pole on a rocky promontory behind him with another pine tree growing beneath it, and with the fisherman’s country home, set by the river with a large plantain in front of it, with wisps of formalized clouds above
1770 – 1840
Height: 5.12 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.66/1.70 cm
Stopper: glass; glass collar

Provenance:
Robert Hall (1993)

Published:
Kleiner 1995, no. 145
Treasury 5, no. 855

Exhibited:
British Museum, London, June-October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July-November 1997

The similarities between this example and lot 232 in this sale are irresistible. This is true even of the subject matter, which features plantains, country residences, rocky outcrops, and distinctive pine trees (characterized by curving trunks and a scattering of standard pine-needle clusters, in circles organized without a hint of subtlety in the perspective, and a few forked, bare twigs rising above them). If we were obliged to hazard a tighter dating range for this pair, we would opt for the 1770s, or 1780s, but they could be later. This is a rare example in a lavender-blue colour seldom used and, when it was, usually paler, as in the cases of Sale 1, lot 36, and Sale 4, lot 47.

The entire group must have been blown, incontrovertible evidence of which is found in the concentric rings round the mouth here, although it is more difficult to establish with the white glass examples, because that glass is characterized by its purity. One advantage of a coloured glass bottle over its white equivalent in this school is that the design is more easily read, and we can see the core style of the group. Given that the inspiration for this school of carving was primarily decorative, eschewing the esoteric aspirations of bottles reflecting higher levels of artistic intent, it seems preferable to have a bottle one can read with ease. This group may represent the work of one of the many design/carving teams that defined style at the imperial glassworks, but by the late Qianlong period we cannot rule out the possibility of private workshops producing similar wares, possibly even for the court.

 

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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