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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 16 

Lot 16

Lot 16
Treasury 6, no. 1165 (‘Egg Pouch’)

Mottled turquoise-blue and purple glaze (of the variety known as ‘robin’s egg’) on porcelain; of fluted form, with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a flat foot rim with a crenelated outer edge imposed by the fluting; the shoulders with mask-and-ring handles; the interior unglazed
Probably imperial, Jingdezhen, 1770–1810
Height: 6.22 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.63/1.50 cm
Stopper: coral, carved with a coiled chi dragon; glass collar

Albert Pyke, Los Angeles (circa 1963)
Sydney L. Moss Ltd
Elizabeth and Ladislas Kardos
Reif Collection
Christie’s, New York, 18 October 1993, lot 19

Canadian Society for Asian Arts 1977, no. 52
Kleiner 1995, no. 209
Zhao Ruzhen 1994, p.70, no. 83
Treasury 6, no. 1165

Vancouver Centennial Museum, October 1977
British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

This is an example of the typically eighteenth-century styles of robin’s-egg glaze that we discussed under Sale 6, lot 106, consisting of a mixture of turquoise-blue and purple. In the that example there was a distinct sense of feathering of the two colours, whereas here it is obvious that turquoise splashes have been added to an existing purple glaze, probably by being blown onto the surface with the aid of the same sort of tool used to apply soufflé enamel grounds. The European equivalent consists of two narrow tubes placed at right angles to each other with two of their open ends touching. The vertical tube is placed in the liquid pigment, the horizontal one in the mouth. Blown air passing across the top of the upright tube draws the air out of it and sucks up the colour below to spray it as a series of tiny flecks of colour; in the application of an enamelled ground, this achieves an even covering free of any brushstrokes, and when producing a two-colour glaze, it creates a random texture in purple splashes.

We are on slightly firmer ground with dating here than with Sale 6, lot 106 because of the form, the mask handles in particular. They take the form of realistic-looking, dog-like beasts with floppy ears, holding small, circular handles and placed so high on the narrow sides that they are literally on the shoulders rather than at the usual position on the narrow sides. These particular beasts were one of many imperial types from the Qianlong period; the small circular rings are typical of the early- to mid-reign, although they survived thereafter alongside the evolved, elongated-ovoid rings; and the placing is found on a range of hard-stone and glass bottles attributable to the court from the late eighteenth century. Although this piece may have been made at the turn of the century, it is perhaps more likely to have been made during the last decades of the Qianlong reign.

For a similar glaze on a different form, see Sotheby’s, Billingshurst, 31 March 1994, lot 270.


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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