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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1048 

Lot 1048
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Lot 1048
Treasury 5, no.762 (‘Purple Purity’)

Transparent amethyst-purple glass; very well hollowed, with a flat lip and concave foot
Height: 5.5 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.58/2.08 cm
Stopper: glass; vinyl collar

Belfort Collection (1986)

Treasury 5, no.762

L’Arcade Chaumet, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, June - August 1982

Although amethyst was carved into snuff bottles in the eighteenth century, the material was seldom of pure and even colour (although see Sale 3, lot 72 for a rare exception). With glass imitations it was possible to overcome this problem and simulate flawless, evenly purple amethyst. There are other features indicating that the intention here was to imitate the natural mineral. The glass has been almost completely refined to exclude air bubbles, since they would be absent in the mineral. With the aid of high magnification a few tiny air bubbles are discernible, but clearly attempts have been made to eliminate them from the solid block from which the bottle has been carved. This is confirmed by its weight which, for a very well hollowed bottle, is still considerable, and also by the similarity in form, carving, and polishing to a quartz bottle.

Not only is the glass of high quality, but the carving is spectacularly fine. Of perfect formal integrity, the bottle has been hollowed unusually carefully to produce not only relatively thin walls, but an inner contour matching the outer form perfectly. Simple as they may be, the details of mouth and foot have been similarly well achieved, and the overall polish is impeccably even. A masterpiece among glass bottles carved from the solid material, it is superbly crafted, the form being as comfortable to the eye as to the hand, into which it fits both comfortably and sensuously with its ideal compressed ovoid form.


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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