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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 39 

Lot 39

Lot 39
Treasury 5, no. 799 (‘Facets of the Gourd’)

Transparent ruby-red glass, with a scattering of small air bubbles; with a flat lip and flat foot; the lower segment with convex oval panels on each main side, the upper section multi-faceted
Attributable to the imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1736 – 1800
Height: 7 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.78/1.30 cm
Stopper: gilt-bronze, chased with a formalized floral design, with integral finial and collar; additional vinyl collar

Christopher and Louise Randall Collection
Christie’s, Hong Kong, 31 October 1995, lot 1851

Wang Jinhai 1996, p. 140, lower left
Treasury 5, no. 799

Formally, this bottle is a strange hybrid. It gives the impression of combining the concept of Sale 5, lot 133 (where an octagonal surface plane of faceting appears to be wrapped around with a similarly faceted, formalized brocade) with that of Sale 7, lot 72 (where we find the standard eighteenth-century octagonal form with circular or oval panels on each side). Although the separate components of this unique shape can be identified independently, the obvious inspiration for the overall form is the double gourd—as is the case with Sale 8, lot 1160. This form was a popular court staple, to be found across a wide range of later Chinese arts.

The ruby glass, the faceting, and to some extent the form—not only because it is a double gourd, but also in the light of the method of faceting the upper bulb of the gourd, which relates it to the yellow glass example of Sale 5, lot 133—all suggest a palace origin. The complexity of the form, moreover, may indicate a date from the mid-Qianlong period, when we begin to see a tendency towards novelty in every aspect of the snuff-bottle arts. We also know, however, from the enamelled glass example in the J & J Collection (Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 185) that the form of the lower segment existed in the early Qianlong period.


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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