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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part V  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2012: Lot 128 

Lot 128


Lot 128
Treasury 5, no. 781 (‘Silent Peacock’)

A blue glass snuff bottle

Transparent peacock-blue glass suffused with air bubbles of small size, a few slightly elongated; with a flat lip and recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding flattened footrim
Height: 5.91 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.65/1.65 cm
Stopper: tourmaline; plastic collar

Edith Griswold
Sotheby’s, New York, 31 May 1994, lot 635

Kleiner 1995, no. 120
Treasury 5, no. 781

British Museum, London, June-October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July-November 1997

Distinctive peacock-blue glass bottles such as this are relatively rare, which is perhaps surprising in view of the fact that its colour is not only lovely, but one that could be made to a satisfactory standard during the eighteenth century. An example of the same colour and identical form and detailing is to be found in the Franz Collection (Franz and Franz 1999; Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 5 May 1994, lot 1317; and no. 439 in the forthcoming catalogue of the glass portion of the Franz Collection). The two must have been made at the same time and place, presumably as part of a set. The Franz bottle is inscribed with a poem by the Ming painter Tang Yin (1470 – 1523). This was at the behest of the Qianlong emperor in 1793, if we correctly interpret the phrase yuti, for this is neither his poem nor his characteristic calligraphy; in any case, the date is helpful, though it does not tell us whether there was a significant period of time between the making of the bottle and the addition of the inscription.

The Franz example notwithstanding, no feature of this version sans inscription would preclude an Imperial provenance, and the neat, standard courtly mask handles with their precisely circular rings would endorse such an attribution.


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Lot 128 Lot 128 Lot 128 Lot 128 Lot 128 Lot 129 Lot 129


Hugh Moss |