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The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1046 

Lot 1046
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Lot 1046
Treasury 5, no.701 (‘Egg and Moon Race’)

Transparent brown glass sparsely suffused with tiny air bubbles; with a concave lip
Height: 5.06 cm
Mouth: 0.62 cm
Stopper: glass; twisted in the malleable state to resemble a stem

Robert Hall (1987)

Hall 1987, no. 36
Treasury 5, no.701

Robert Hall Ltd. London, October 1987

Related paraphernalia: Snuff dish; transparent brown glass with a few scattered air bubbles of various sizes; with a protruding flat foot
Diameter: 4.65 cm
Height: 0.65 cm

Condition Report:

Eugene Sung (1977)
Gerd Lester (1986)

Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 79
Treasury 5, no.701

The glass from which this bottle was made may have been intended to imitate amber, as bears a definite resemblance to the pure brown variety of this material, but there is no way to know with certainty.

This compressed egg form, so obvious for a snuff bottle, is unexpectedly rare. We encounter it in but a few glass bottles, the occasional crystal or other hardstone bottle, and some enamelled porcelain bottles of the Daoguang period made, apparently, for the court. Nestling very comfortably in the hand, it is a tactile delight with which to play. Sparsely practical, it is capacious without unnecessary weight in the way of foot, neck, or decoration, and also of a very simple form to make. The glassblower has simply blown a bubble and slightly compressed it, leaving the rest to the dictates of physics. The carver has had only to tidy the neck, giving it a neat and narrow concavity, and polish it. There is no indication of whether it was blown into a mould or not, and it may be another of those forms that could as easily have been freely blown. Being plain and without significant detailing, it is practically impossible to date accurately, so we have ascribed to it a fairly wide range of possibilities, although it is most likely to date from the eighteenth or early nineteenth century.

The matching dish has been associated with it only recently, although it complements it well both in colour and in its simplicity. The foot is not surrounded by the usual protruding foot rim but is a protruding flat circle of the simplest kind. We have allowed a later dating range for it because we believe that the separate dish did not become fashionable until the late eighteenth 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.


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