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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 November 2013: Lot 79 

Lot 79

Lot 79
Treasury 5, no. 837 (‘Dish of Dragons’)

Transparent amethyst-purple glass with some clusters of small air bubbles; with a concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding flattened footrim; carved with chi felines on each of the narrow sides
Attributable to the imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1740-1800
Height: 5.16 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.65/1.48 cm
Stopper: amethyst; vinyl collar

Zhirou Zhai Collection
Hugh M. Moss Ltd., Hong Kong (1993)

Treasury 5, no. 837

One could be forgiven for assuming this and Sale 5, lot 92 to be very similar, but this one has been blown. It is not only of light weight, but elongated air bubbles occur round the neck, all stretching away from the energy of the blow-iron. In addition, hidden on the inside of the bottle beneath the chi felines are two elongated depressions matching the rather tightly confined oval form of the felines. The bottle must have been blown into a mould with the intention of having raised oval panels on the narrow sides to match the snuff dishes (a common enough early design). The decision was then made to carve felines into the oval panels, which accounts for their obvious geometric confinement.

Minimum thickness was obviously a concern here, since the lapidary has sought to enhance it by hollowing the base area almost into the foot itself, in a shape atypical for the blow-iron. He also unquestionably created the even roughness inside, suggesting that it was probably intended to imitate the finish that would probably have been given to the interior of a bottle made of real amethyst.


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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