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The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 76 

Lot 76

Lot 76
Treasury 5, no. 805 (‘Palace Ruby Classic’)
HK$11,875

Transparent ruby-red glass with light crizzling, sparsely suffused with air bubbles of various sizes and some impurities; with a flat lip and flat foot; the two main sides with raised faceted panels surrounded by further faceting
Imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1710-1760
Height: 4.69 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.89/1.37 cm
Stopper: chrysoprase; vinyl collar

Provenance:
C.K. Liang (1979)
Gerd Lester (1986)

Published:
Arts of Asia, September-October 1990, p. 97, fig. 32
Treasury 5, no. 805

In view of evidence provided by Sale 9, lot 94, with its solid credentials as a Yongzheng palace product, we are able to date this bottle with some confidence and add a little more information to the ever-expanding store relating to our connoisseurship of the art-form. The slight crizzling, not readily apparent to the naked eye, indicates a likely early eighteenth century date, as does the wide mouth.

In addition, the material is sufficiently similar to Sale 9, lot 94 to indicate a probable Yongzheng date, although it might have been made a little before or after that short reign. The glass, of similar colour and suffused with air bubbles of various sizes—including one or two large ones—has other small flaws in the form of tiny impurities in the glass known collectively as ‘stones’. The new information we can glean from this particular example is that these early faceted shapes were not always of small size in the first half of the eighteenth century. Although this is by no means the magnum that we believe developed as a popular standard during the Qianlong period, it is the largest of the bottles of this particular shape in the collection.

This said, it is no larger than some Kangxi-marked palace enamels on metal, indicating that a range of snuff bottles of this size was produced at the beginning of palace production. While we should not be surprised to find a glass bottle of this size, it is useful to know that a particular glass shape was made in sizes ranging from normal to almost miniature during the first half of the eighteenth century.

The surface of the glass has almost certainly been repolished at some time in the past, possibly removing any slight exterior crizzling—if any existed—but the foot remains remarkably similar to Sale 9, lot 94 in its surface patination.

 

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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