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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 66 

Lot 66

Lot 66
Treasury 5, no. 749 (‘Imperial Handful’)

Transparent amber-brown glass with a few impurities, extensively crizzled, with a few air bubbles of various sizes; with a flat lip and protruding flat foot; the foot engraved in seal script Qianlong nian zhi 乾隆年製 (‘Made in the Qianlong era’)
Imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1736 – 1770
Height: 7.9 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.90/2.38 cm
Stopper: glass; gilt-silver collar

Hugh M. Moss Ltd, Hong Kong (1993)

Kleiner 1995 , no. 109
Treasury 5, no. 749

British Museum, London, June – October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July – November 1997

Crizzled amber-brown glass of this kind is so typical of early imperial glassworks production, dating back to the years shortly after 1696, that but for its size and the reign mark, this bottle might have been dated to the Kangxi period. Our reasons for believing it to be from the very early Qianlong reign are much the same as were given for Sale 1, lot 89. If it is indeed from the early Qianlong period, it is one of our earliest known magnums, or full-hand snuff bottles. No known Kangxi or Yongzheng bottles could be considered magnums, while many can be dated to the late eighteenth century and thereafter. Of the few magnums that can be dated with confidence, some are from the late Qianlong reign. This example, however, probably dates from the first part of the reign, and there are reasonably large nephrite bottles from the Suzhou School of Zhiting that may well be from either the early or middle parts of the reign. From this we may conclude that the magnum developed gradually from the early Qianlong period onwards, becoming a standard alternative by the second half of the reign.

While the formalization of the seal-script mark differs from Sale 1, lot 89, the two may have been carved by the same hand. The skilled calligraphers employed in the inscription workshops may have spent very little time doing any other type of carving work.


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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