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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1042 

Lot 1042
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Lot 1042
Treasury 5, no.846 (‘The Krug Cabbage’)
HK$68,750

Semi-transparent variegated green and very pale greyish-purple glass, streaked with dark brown, sandwiched between two layers of transparent, slightly milky pale-green glass, sparsely suffused with air bubbles of various sizes and small white flakes, with an irregularly concave lip and concave foliate foot made up of elements of the design, carved in the form of a cabbage, its four outer leaves forming the quatrefoil naturalistic foot
1750-1850
Height: 7.28 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.89/1.39 cm
Stopper: streaky glass, carved as overlapping leaves, possibly original

Provenance:
Johanna Krug
Lempertz, Cologne, 27 November 1992, lot 369
Robert Hall (1993)

Published:
Krug 1967, p. 37, pl. X, no.59
Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst der Stadt Köln and Goepper 1973, p. 123, no. 139
Kleiner 1995, no. 141
Treasury 5, no.846

Exhibited:
Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst der Stadt Köln, Cologne, 1973
British Museum, London, June-October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July-November 1997

This subject is relatively rare in early glass (although common in one particular group of bottles, apparently made at Boshan 博山in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which feature white and green glass cabbages, realistically rendered, with a matching green naturalistic stopper). Only two other examples are known of this green version (Christie’s, New York, 18 October 1993, lot 214, and JICSBS, Autumn 1991, p. 34) but there are several in pink sandwiched glass of the type of Sale 6, lot 192 (Stevens 1976, no. 214; also illustrated in Christie’s, New York, 2 December 1993, lot 399; Christie’s, Hong Kong, 1 November 1994, lot 1409; and Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 2 May 1996, lot 1132).

There is no reason why this rare little green example should not be as early as those in pink-and-white sandwiched glass, since it exhibits the same method of manufacture, subject matter, and style. The green colour, however, is atypical and was obviously intended to imitate the vegetable itself.

The bottle is obviously blown - as are all of the sandwiched group - and subsequently carved with no little skill. Whether the stopper is the original remains in doubt, for while it suits it rather well at first glance, one wonders why the artist would start the cabbage leaves all over again, having finished them neatly round the shoulders to provide a proper snuff bottle-shaped neck.
The fact that green is a logical choice of colour for the subject diverts attention from the possibility that this may be the type of glass referred to in the imperial archives from the mid-eighteenth century onwards as imitating jadeite, in which case it was used regularly during the second half of the eighteenth century at court, which remains a likely provenance for this bottle.


 

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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