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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 162 

Lot 162

Lot 162
Treasury 5, no. 953 (‘Court Flowers’)

Semi-transparent yellow and transparent golden-yellow glass, both sparsely suffused with air bubbles of various sizes, some elongated; with a flat lip and recessed flat foot made up of elements of the design; carved as a single overlay to simulate the bottle being contained within a basket that also contains flowering peonies, prunus branches, and a lingzhi, the foot of the basket forming the footrim of the bottle
Imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1760-1800
Height: 5.82 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.65/1.15 cm
Stopper: tourmaline; jadeite collar

Urs Frech
Robert Kleiner (1997)

Treasury 5, no. 953

Some prunus blossoms are depicted here showing the backs of the petals, suggesting that the flower is being viewed from an angle; this is evidence indicating an initial sketch might have been made. While such an artistic device works effectively on paper, it is less appropriate to three-dimensional sculpture, for the bottle may be turned, enabling the blossom to be viewed from more than one angle and obviating the necessity for such devices to lend apparent depth. The prunus blossoms seem to be the result of an artistic technique developed by a painter rather than a glass carver. Sketches were frequently used in the production of imperial works of art during the eighteenth century, and we know that in 1776 Bai Yongji produced nine sketches of red overlay glass and nine of blue overlay glass, and sent them to the eunuch Hu Shijie to be presented for imperial approval. This seems to have been a standard stage in the production of the more complex imperial glass products.

This example probably dates from the latter part of the Qianlong period, when we know the subject was in vogue at 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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