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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 56 

Lot 56

Lot 56
Treasury 5, no. 736 (‘Arsenic Sandwich’)

Ruby-red, yellow, and orange glass (known as ‘realgar-glass’) sandwiched between and added to the outer surface of two layers of colourless glass, suffused with air bubbles of various sizes; with a flat lip and flat foot
Height: 5.6 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.62/1.96 cm
Stopper: jadeite; gold collar

Robert Hall (1984)

Treasury 5, no. 736

A natural evolution of the sandwiched effect is the addition of a second layer of colouring to the outer layer of glass, achieved by rolling on further fragments of colour. This provides considerable extra decorative potential, since it allows for a second layer of pattern to act as a counterpoint to the sandwiched layer. In view of the appeal of this effect so clearly demonstrated here, it is perhaps surprising the technique was not employed more often. It occurs on the series of bottles of which this is a fine example, where realgar-glass is combined with colourless glass in a dynamic and effective way, but is otherwise unusual.

It is possible that the majority of the bottles in this small sub-group were made at the same workshops at about the same time, since most are of similar bulbous form and ample size, usually decorated with realgar-glass splashes, and they are very similarly marked. In view of certain shared features, we feel they are likely to have been made at the imperial glassworks. Irrefutable proof that this form was mould-blown is provided by the obvious, vertical reflection of the gap between the moulds on each narrow side.


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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