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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 51 

Lot 51

Lot 51
Treasury 5, no. 689 (‘Peacock Moon’)

Transparent peacock-blue glass with a few scattered air bubbles; with a flat lip and flat foot
Height: 6.15 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.59/1.48 cm
Stopper: mother-of-pearl; coral collar

Robert Kleiner (1999)

Treasury 5, no. 689

The shape here is extensively compressed, almost to the point where it becomes the dominant formal feature. We believe that formal excess in the snuff-bottle world was probably a mid-Qing characteristic, probably becoming popular during the Qianlong period. Prior to that there was so much innovation in the field that new types and freshly invented designs would have largely satisfied the demand for novelty. Once most types had been well established, however, there would have been a greater tendency towards virtuoso performance, the result being very large or very small bottles, super-hollowed hardstones, and super-thin shapes.

There is in hardstones a series of exaggeratedly thin bottles that qualify as virtuoso performances; most of them seem to date from the second half of the Qianlong period (see for instance Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 105, and Sale 2, lot 22). They inspired a series of flattened porcelain shapes with flared necks from the same period, which became standard during the subsequent Jiaqing reign.

This bottle, of a related form, is most likely to date from the Qianlong period, but may be from as late as the early nineteenth century. Its shape, one that appears relatively often in glass snuff bottles and was probably mould-blown, encouraged the glassblower on occasion to play visual games with his interior bubble of air, as in lot 41 in this auction, although here the interior bubble is almost miraculously well matched to the outer form, most impressive, given the fact that the interior finish shows no indication of subsequent grinding or polishing.


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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