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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1082 

Lot 1082
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Lot 1082
Treasury 5, no.867 (‘Myriad Flowers’)

Translucent turquoise-blue glass with a slightly paler inner layer, with copper-coloured pigment; with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded foot rim; engraved on one main side with a flowering chrysanthemum plant and on the other in draft script with a poem, flanked on either side in regular script by the inscription Qianlong jiawu…zhongchun yuti 乾隆甲午……仲春御題(‘Composed by the emperor in the second month of spring in the year jiawu of the Qianlong era’), the engraving all filled with a coppery-coloured pigment
Bottle: imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1720-1780
Inscription: palace workshops, Beijing, 1774-1800
Height: 5.4 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/1.6 cm
Stopper: glass

Private collection, Taiwan (prior to 1976)
Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 5 May 1994, lot 1319

Kleiner 1995, no. 118
Treasury 5, no.867

British Museum, London, June – October 1995

The poem on this bottle is by Yun Shouping 惲壽平 (1633 – 1690). It is found, signed ‘Shouping’, on the eleventh of twelve paintings of flowers in an album by Yun that was in the imperial collection in 1774 and is now in the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. The poem is quoted in the catalogue of the imperial collection, Shiqu baoji 石渠寶笈 (Precious satchel of the Stone Moat), which was begun in spring 1744 and completed in winter 1745. Therefore, this poem on the chrysanthemum probably came to the Qianlong emperor’s attention in the course of discussions of the quality and classification of the painting album; he took an active interest in the evaluation of the collection. He apparently made a copy of Yun’s inscription in his own hand in the spring of 1774; that copy must have been the model for the engraver of this snuff bottle in 1774 or a later year.

Yun Shouping’s poem reads

Frosty breath is born from the tip of my brush;
The sparkle of the flowers enwraps me by the inkstone.
Interspersed among the golden blossoms are red and purple ones,
Just like a valley strewn with a myriad flowers.

This design is cut with a spinning wheel, the preferred method during the Qianlong period. Although simplified owing to the constraints imposed by use of the tool, it is crisp and sharp. It was not until the end of the reign that we begin to see a revival in diamond-point engraving, which was sustained throughout the nineteenth century.


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=1849&exhibition=13&ee_lang=eng


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