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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 November 2013: Lot 60 

Lot 60

Lot 60
Treasury 5, no. 966 (‘Endless Sons’)
HK$137,500

Opaque cinnabar-red and translucent white glass; with a flat lip and shallowly recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding flattened footrim; carved as a single overlay with an identical design on each side of four boys, linked so that they share two heads and two sets of legs and arms, with one hand holding a reed-organ (sheng), another a lotus leaf and flower, and a third a branch of gui (Osmanthus fragrans)
1780-1850
Height: 6.5 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.68/1.55 cm
Stopper: coral; gilt-bronze collar

Illustration:
Watercolour by Peter Suart

Provenance:
Hugh M. Moss Ltd., Hong Kong (1985)

Published:
Kleiner 1987, no. 124
Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, exhibition poster, October 1987
Treasury 5, no. 966

Exhibited:
Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May-June 1993

Both spectacular and rare, this bottle is of the same subject as a series of blue and white porcelain bottles that display an identical design we can confidently date to the mid-nineteenth century. This provides us with a valuable clue to the date of this example, since a design that became popular in one medium at a particular time would probably be used on other types relatively quickly. Which came first is an important question, but given the fact that the influence of the court flowed outwards to ceramic production at Jingdezhen rather than the other way around, we suspect this glass version probably predates the porcelain ones. This assumption is challenged, however, if another version, certainly by the same hand but in sapphire-blue on white (Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 28 April 1993, lot 380), which indicates that the blue-and-white porcelain design inspired the glass. For examples of the blue-and-white porcelain version, see Stevens 1976, nos. 257 and 259. A Daoguang date would be entirely feasible for this bottle, but it might conceivably have been made as early as the last decade of the eighteenth century. The rather poorly controlled footrim, where the colour bleeds away from the rim into the body of the bottle in places, is another indication of its mid-Qing date.

Whenever it might have been made, it remains a masterpiece, and the shortcomings of the footrim reflect no more than the standards prevalent at that time. The ground plane is impeccably well finished, and the carving displays fine control and is beautifully rounded. The four chubby chaps with their extreme Siamese-quadruplets problem are a delight, and the design is well conceived.

 

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.

 

Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1688&exhibition=12&ee_lang=eng


  
  

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