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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 76 

Lot 76

Lot 76
Treasury 5, no. 782 (‘Turquoise Tallboy’)

Translucent turquoise-blue glass; with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding, flattened, oval foot; the narrow sides carved with mask-and-ring handles
1750 – 1840
Height: 8.61 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.82/1.65 cm
Stopper: glass; jadeite finial; vinyl collar

Robert Hall (1985)

Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 85
Treasury 5, no. 782

Hong Kong Museum of Art, March – June 1994
National Museum of Singapore, November 1994 – February 1995

The lovely turquoise-blue of this example resembles the colour valued most highly in the gemstones themselves (see under no. 693). Although formally related to Sale 1, lot 70, the end result is distinctly different. Of the same modified meiping 梅瓶 (‘prunus-blossom vase’) the similarly exaggeratedly narrow base is in this case curved inwards to offset the outward curve of the shoulders and create an ‘s’-shaped profile. The overall form is, in this case, then compressed, and this popular courtly shape is one of the factors to encourage a tentative imperial attribution.

Apart from the unusual and eccentric form and beautiful colour, the only other notable feature of this bottle is the addition of mask handles. These are of the standard courtly style, with a large nose separating two bulging hemispherical eyes beneath curled eyebrows. The ends of the eyebrows also form part of the regular pattern of curls that frame the forehead of the beast with its central, vertically ovoid bulge. This decorative formula appears on quartz, other hardstones, and glass made at or for the court, and is the most common formalization of this ubiquitous courtly feature. The slight elongation of the rings may indicate a mid-Qing date rather than one from the earlier part of the Qianlong reign, and the second half of the reign offers itself as the most likely date of manufacture.


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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