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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 54 

Lot 54

Lot 54
Treasury 5, no. 958 (‘Eternal Governance’)

Semi-translucent dark brown (appearing as black in normal light), and translucent white glass; with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding flat foot rim; carved as a single overlay with classical quotations in seal script on each side contained within a foliate panel, one followed by the seal yong 永 (‘forever’), and the other by the seal, zhi 治 (‘govern’), both in positive seal script, the narrow sides each with handles made up of highly stylized shou (‘longevity’) characters, the central element replaced by a bat and the lower part by an endless knot
Attributable to the imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1770-1800
Height: 5.61 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.7/1.5 cm
Stopper: glass, carved with a coiled chi dragon with integral collar

Henry and Lynn Prager
Robert Kleiner (1998)

Treasury 5, no. 958

There can be little doubt that this belongs to the same group as Sale 6, lot 155, where it is discussed. Since that bottle is datable to 1780, we may assume that this bottle was made around that time, although a slightly broader range is proposed.

Here, the ground plane shows traces of the original carving marks, and while the carving of the handles is excellent, it falls short of the very finest quality we associate with the art at its zenith. The foot rim, however, is excellent, with a confident and crisply cut rim almost perfectly matched by the overlay colour, the only slight blemish being on one main side, where the straight line dips a little both inside and out.

The two sentences inscribed on one side constitute the line text for the fifth line of the Qian hexagram in the Book of Changes: Feilong zai tian, li jian daren 飛龍在天,利見大人 (‘When a flying dragon is in the sky, it will be fitting to see the great man’). The inscription on the other side is two excerpts from a commentary on the same hexagram: Yunxing yushi, wanguo xian ning 雲行雨施,萬國咸寧 (‘Clouds scud and rain falls....the myriad states are all at peace’). (See Richard John Lynn, The Classic of Changes: A New Translation of the I Ching as Interpreted by Wang Bi[New York: Columbia University Press, 1994], pp. 129 and 137.) If the two seals here are read together, they form the term yongzhi 永治, meaning ‘Eternal Good Government’.


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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