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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 49 

Lot 49

Lot 49
Treasury 5, no. 939 (‘Crizzled Longfu’)’

Translucent white glass and transparent sapphire-blue glass extensively crizzled on the inside surface of the bottle, with a few scattered air bubbles of various sizes; with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded foot rim; carved as a single overlay with an identical design on each main side of a chi dragon, the narrow sides each with a flying bat
Imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1740-1790
Height: 5.58 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.65/1.40 cm
Stopper: coral; stained bone collar

Phyllis Kaufman (1979)
Gerd Lester (1986)

Antiques World, September 1980, p. 67
Kleiner 1987, no. 106
Treasury 5, no. 939

Sydney L. Moss Ltd, London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May – June 1993

This example and Sale 6, lot 155 represent a strange anomaly in what we assume to be imperial glassmaking during the second half of the Qianlong period. Both are extensively crizzled, a phenomenon that occurred sporadically on presumed imperial glass well into the late eighteenth century. The Sale 6, lot 155, reasonably dated to 1780, demonstrates that ongoing problems of glass mixtures persisted through to the end of the Qianlong period. A batch of colourless glass—perhaps stored from an earlier date or recycled from much earlier imports that had broken—may have supplied the material for both these bottles. On the other hand, the crizzling here may not be related to the glass mix. The only conclusion we can safely draw is that crizzling persisted into the latter part of the Qianlong reign, however infrequently, and that sufficient crizzled pieces have strong imperial connections to suggest it was a particular problem of the imperial glassworks.

The carving style of this magnificent bottle betrays no hint of declining standards and indeed, the reverse is true, as illustrated by spectacularly well-controlled carving and bats as fine as one could hope for from a lapidary. The matching of the foot rim to the overlay colour, however, is less than impressive, despite a very neat foot rim. Formal integrity is impeccable, and the surface of the lower plane remarkably well controlled, completely free of carving marks or undulations. A date from the mid- to late-Qianlong period seems the most likely. These white designs on a darker ground are invariably spectacular, and this is no exception.


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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