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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 71 

Lot 71

Lot 71
Treasury 5, no. 678 (‘Portly Elegance’)

Transparent ruby-red glass, with very few sparsely scattered small air bubbles; with a concave lip surrounded by a flat lip rim and a recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding flat foot rim
Height: 3.53 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.82/1.31 cm
Stopper: jadeite; vinyl collar

Robert Hall (1995)

Treasury 5, no. 678

This bottle falls into the miniature category. It sits most comfortably either in the fingertips or at the base of the fingers, but not in the hand.

The few scattered air bubbles and some very slight swirling may indicate an early date, but such features should not be taken as independent dating guides of any great significance. Even if all early ruby-glass bottles were made at the court, the number of different batches of ruby-glass produced, and the number of glassmakers involved in working them over a period of time would suggest that such features were probably not exclusive to early glass.

Formally, this enormously confident bottle is a delight. With its wide mouth, portly yet elegant form, and excellent detailing, it is among the most impressive known examples of ruby-glass bottles. The compressed pear shape was common throughout the snuff-bottle period, but customarily more compressed than it is in this example. The extra depth and hence capacity gives even so small a bottle considerable presence, and this is accentuated, once the stopper is removed, by the unusually wide mouth.


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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