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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 147 

Lot 147

Lot 147
Treasury 6, no. 1345 (‘The Belfort Pepper-Pod’)

Crackled, slightly bluish emerald-green glaze on porcelain; moulded in the form of a pepper, the short, cylindrical neck formed as part of the calyx rising out of the sepals, all exterior surfaces and parts of the inside of the neck covered with glaze; the interior unglazed
Probably Jingdezhen, 1800–1880
Height: 5.56 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.59/0.80 cm
Stopper: crackled, slightly bluish, emerald-green glaze on porcelain, carved in the form of a stalk; original

Dr Hamilton, Edinburgh
Hugh M. Moss Ltd (prior to 1978)
Belfort Collection (1986)

Jutheau 1980, p. 88, fig 3
Distance, April–May 1979, p.34
L’Estampille, February 1979, p. 47
Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 179
Treasury 6, no.1345

Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
National Museum of Singapore, November 1994–February 1995

Among the many bottles made for a non-imperial market during the nineteenth century is a range of monochrome wares, some of which are of fruit forms, including this unusual pepper. Many of them were obviously mass produced, and some are so crude one is tempted to think they were made as disposable containers in which to sell medicines. This version, however, is at the high end of the scale, being thoughtfully sculpted, well made, and finely glazed with a typical nineteenth-century Jingdezhen glaze. It forms part of a range of moulded monochrome fruit forms that are difficult to date, but that were probably made from the Jiaqing period through to the end of the century. The unglazed interior may indicate a date from earlier in the century, but there are too few of this type in our modern collections to allow much of a study of their interiors.

This type of fairly opaque, thick, crackled green glaze appears on a range of later- Qing monochrome ceramics, many of them miniature vases that may have been used as snuff bottles. But this well-conceived vegetable form is a rarity, the more so because of its intact original stopper, the length and delicacy of which should have presaged its early destruction.


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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