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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1088 

Lot 1088
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Lot 1088
Treasury 6, no. 1094 (‘Complete Longevity’)

Famille rose enamels on translucent white glass; with a flat lip and protruding flat foot; painted with a continuous scene of two butterflies in a garden setting with rocks, a blossoming prunus tree, grass, and other foliage; with a shoulder band of formalized lingzhi beneath a neck band of formalized floral scroll; the foot inscribed in faded iron-red regular script Guyue xuan (‘Ancient Moon Pavilion’)
Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 1767–1785
Height: 4.61 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.90/1.18 cm
Stopper: tourmaline; jadeite finial

Marian Mayer
Richard Bourne, Hyannis, 14 December 1988, lot 171
Robert Hall (1985)

Kleiner 1995, no. 31
Treasury 6, no. 1094

British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

This piece represents the third series in a broad group of mid-Qianlong experimental enamels on glass (see, in the order in which they were discussed in Treasury 6, Sale 7, lot 145; Sale 5, lot 99; Sale 3, lot 90; Sale 6, lot 206; Sale 5, lot 62; Sale 6, lot 265; and Sale 1, lot 120). Mostly on a range of translucent white glass typical of the period and the palace, the wares in this series are reasonably well controlled technically; there is some pitting of certain troublesome colours when applied thickly, but as a rule the enamels are relatively thin and, probably for that reason, more successful – the thicker the enamels, the harder they were to control in the multiple firings needed to achieve such thickness. The designs, when of scenery rather than auspicious objects, tend to be of the rather naïve folk-art style typified here. Many of them are also in the smaller range of snuff bottle sizes, although far from being miniatures.

The state of wear over a broad range of recorded examples is commensurate with a Qianlong date, as are the frequently worn, thinly enamelled Guyue xuan marks that appear on the majority of them where the foot has not been subsequently ground or polished, although iron-red Qianlong four character marks also appear. They were obviously another group inspired by the demand for wares associated with the Guyue xuan, and may represent a second or third enameller (depending upon how many people were involved in producing the Wu Yuchuan 吳玉川 wares, for which see Sale 1, lot 120 and Sale 6, lot 265).

The characteristic neck and shoulder borders here are obviously linked to the Guyue xuan group (compare this and Sale 6, lot 228).

The mark here is almost worn off and close to being invisible, and the enamels are also worn at the surface, making them less shiny than they would originally have looked. As a rule these bottles have iron-red regular-script Guyue xuan marks, but they are also found with Qianlong marks.

For others of the broader group, see Christie’s, Hong Kong, 2 May 1995, lot 1398; Christie’s, New York, 28 March 1996, lot 123; Christie’s, Hong Kong, 28 April 1996, lot 585 (a faceted bottle of a typically palace shape); Sotheby’s, New York, 25 October 1997, lots 22 and 49 ( two very similar bottles from the Mack Collection); Christie’s, South Kensington, 4 October 1999, lot 181 (also from the Mack Collection); Sotheby’s, New York, 23 March 1998, lot 50; and, in the same sale, lot 70 (which is very close to this example in subject matter and style).


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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