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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 113 

Lot 113

Lot 113
Treasury 5, no. 1011 (‘Yu’s Treasure’)

Opaque cinnabar-red, semi-transparent olive-brown, and translucent white glass; with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; carved as a double overlay (with some carving of the ground colour) with a continuous river scene with, on one main side, an immortal punting a log boat while another figure crouches in the prow, a double gourd for wine hanging from the branches of the boat, with a foreground rock and the sun above, inscribed in relief seal script, Yushi zhencang (‘Precious collection of Mr Yu’), and on the other with a man punting a boat, a picnic box in the prow, beneath the moon and five birds, inscribed in relief, Jinyu ting (‘Pavilion of Today’s Rain’), the shoulders with a continuous design of formalized clouds
Yangzhou, 1861 – 1883
Height: 6.04 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.62/1.30 cm
Stopper: glass, carved with a coiled chi dragon, with integral collar

Henry and Lynn Prager
Robert Kleiner (1997)

Treasury 5, no. 1011

This bottle is an important key in identifying bottles commissioned by Yu Changsui, who lived in Yangzhou 1861 – 1883. See Sale 3, lot 122. The output from Yangzhou in the late nineteenth century is spectacular, with many displaying carving in the ground colour, as here, where the clouds around the shoulders and the formalized water round the base are both carved in the ground colour and, indeed, as a relief plane between the ground plane and the first layer of cameo-overlay. This typical example also has a surface layer of cinnabar red. This is the most common upper layer on multiple overlays from the school which, if it appears as other than the surface layer, is often the middle one. Very few multiple overlays attributable to the Yangzhou school are without this colour in one of the two uppers layers. See Sale 3, lot 122, and Sale 4, lots 44, 90, and 115. All have cinnabar-red as the surface layer.

Impressive though the carving style may be and spectacular though the multiple-overlay bottles invariably are, the detailing of the footrim is nearly always of modest nineteenth-century standard. They also exhibit careless matching of the overlay colour to the form, which in the case of so many of this group is far removed from their imperial, mid- to early-Qianlong counterparts. Neat, sharp-edged, crisply carved footrims similarly give way here to irregularly rounded ones lacking formal integrity. Were this not typical of these multiple overlays, one might reasonably assume the rounded edges to have resulted from the removal of chips.

The figure in the log boat may be intended as Zhang Qian (see Sale 2, lot 151) or Magu (see Sale 5, lot 138).


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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