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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1087 

Lot 1087
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Lot 1087
Treasury 7, no. 1670 (‘Gilding the Lotus’)

Black, gold, and red pigment on translucent turquoise-blue glass; the octagonal profile carved on the two main sides with circular raised, faceted panels; painted on each main side in black and gold with waterside landscape scenes, one with a figure in a sailboat and houses and pavilions among trees, the other with a scholar holding a walking staff and crossing a bridge in a similar setting, the panels surrounded by a formalized floral design of various different flowers, including Indian lotus; the neck with a band of formalized lingzhi; the foot engraved in wheel-cut regular script, Daoguang nian zhi 道光年製 (Made in the Daoguang era), filled with gold pigment; the decoration all with an undercoat of red; the lip gilt
Bottle: imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1821–1850
Painting: probably palace workshops, Beijing, 1821–1850
Height: 5.7 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.68/1.75 cm
Stopper: gilt copper, with a filigree design of formalized flowers

Unidentified Manhattan gallery, New York (1980)
Gerd Lester (1986)

Kleiner 1987, no. 82
Treasury 7, no. 1670

Sydney L. Moss Ltd, London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993

This example represents the typical nineteenth-century version of a long-popular octagonal form. Crispy faceted versions of the early-eighteenth-century style continued into the second half of the Qing dynasty, but there was a tendency toward lazier production, where the narrow sides were reduced to oval or circular facets rather than being taken down further to neat rectangular ones. Another feature of the later production was a tendency toward larger sizes. The Daoguang reign mark found here, therefore, comes as no surprise.

Decorating glass with cold gold pigment, usually laid over red, as opposed to firing gold enamel, is well known from the Qianlong period. There is a small group of imperial glass bowls decorated with dragons in this style and a credible glass bottle of pebble form from the Arthur Gadsby Collection with a Qianlong reign mark (Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 2 November 1978, lot 68). The style survived to the later part of the dynasty; apart from the present bottle, another, also from the Gadsby Collection, has a Tongzhi reign mark (see JICSBS, March 1976, p. 20, figs. 109 and 110; also in Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 2 November 1978, lot 58).

For snuff bottles, this is not an ideal method of decoration, since the cold-painted design is mildly incompatible with the shiny glass ground and is easily worn or flaked off. It is possible that many more of this type were made and then discarded or had the remnants of their decoration removed once they had become worn.


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=1844&exhibition=13&ee_lang=eng


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