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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 62 

Lot 62

Lot 62
Treasury 5, no. 789 (‘Courtly Pinch’)

Transparent ruby-red glass, with one or two small air bubbles; with a flat lip and protruding flat foot; carved on each main side with a concave circular dish surrounded by a bulging circular panel, the narrow sides flattened, and faceted at the shoulders
Probably imperial glassworks, 1710 – 1770
Height: 3.37 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.60/1.05 cm
Stopper: turquoise; vinyl collar

Robert Kleiner (1990)

Treasury 5, no. 789

The raised circular panels on each main side, distinctly concave and presumably intended as snuff dishes, however small, relate this to Sale 6, lot 115, and also to Sale 4, lot 68 and Sale 8, lot 1041, while the flattened narrow sides are also found on Sale 4, lot 68.

The flat sides on this bottle are reconciled to the cylindrical neck by the use of four triangular facets. This represents a foreign approach to the formal problem, the more Chinese approach being illustrated by Sale 4, lot 68, on which the cylinder of the neck issues straight out of the curving shoulder panel. This approach is echoed at the base, where the side panels meet the foot, on the present example.  

Although the small yet capacious form suggests an early period, perhaps from the Yongzheng reign, the nature of the faceting does not necessarily imply an early, experimental work, since the earliest faceting would probably have approached European standards, with diamond-like cutting dominating the vessels. We find faceting of this nature on the only known piece of faceted glass from the imperial glassworks bearing a Kangxi reign mark, even the form of which is somewhat foreign, since it resembles an inkwell (the water pot in crizzled colourless glass in the imperial collection, Yang Boda 1987, p. 79, fig. 1). Where hints of Chinese forms are blended with faceting, as they are here, it is more likely that we are dealing with an evolution by which faceting from Europe gradually became incorporated into Chinese forms.

We have opted for a wider dating range, but would not be surprised if it transpired that this were from the Yongzheng period, while the faceting, ruby-red glass, and form all allow at least a tentative attribution to the imperial glassworks.


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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Hugh Moss |