shorenstein_340An Introduction to the Chinese Works of Art in the Shorenstein Collection

The Chinese works of art in the collection of Walter and Phyllis Shorenstein are spectacular in their beauty, their technical excellence and their historical importance. They include examples of Chinese glass, imperial porcelain and jade of particular distinction. The Shorenstein’s impressively comprehensive collection of glass is one of the most admired and important in America.

Both Walter and Phyllis Shorenstein will be remembered for their immense contribution to the city of San Francisco’s cultural, educational and social life, as well as their generous and thoughtful charitable works. This was eloquently described by Mayor Frank Jordan in a tribute to the Shorensteins when he said that they: "consistently helped make this city a better place for all of us". One of the beneficiaries of their financial and personal support was the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Phyllis Shorenstein was one of the founders of the museum, which opened in Golden Gate Park in 1966, serving as a board member for many years, and being a commissioner right up to the time of her death in 1994. Over a 20-year period the Shorenstein family donated many fine examples of art from China, Japan, Korea, India, and other Asian countries, to the museum. In recognition of all the Shorensteins had done for the Asian Art Museum, in May 1994 one of its galleries was named in honour of the family.

shorenstein_collection_340Phyllis Shorenstein was a passionate collector of Chinese glass, and amassed a superb collection, which provides a spectacular visual history of Chinese glass from the Han dynasty to the Qing dynasty. This collection was put together with the scholarly help of the late Dr. Clarence Shangraw. Mrs. Shorenstein once mentioned to Dr. Shangraw that the glass in her cabinets reminded her of 'a chorus line of colour' – a wonderfully evocative phrase, which was adapted to provide the name for an exhibition of glass, from three of America’s top collections, held at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in 1995. The catalogue of this exhibition was dedicated to Phyllis Shorenstein’s memory, and the dedication noted that: "She championed excellence in Asian Art." This pursuit of excellence shines through in Walter and Phyllis Shorenstein’s collection of Chinese Art.

A very rare Imperial moulded and carved ruby-red glass bird-form ewer. Qianlong four-character sealmark within a double square and of the period (1736-1795). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010

The rounded body conceived as the body of the bird with the head forming the spout, decorated on both sides with foliate dragons below lobed bands of scrolls and rows of overlapping feathers on the back and neck, with a foliate-chased gilt-metal handle, the vessel raised on an oval base carved as sectioned waves radiating from the seal mark in the centre and continuing outward to form the footrim; 8 in. (20.3 cm.) long, wood stand . Estimate HK$4,000,000 - HK$6,000,000. Price Realized HK$18,580,000

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 81

Exhibited: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, and illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 81

Notes: This magnificent ewer is of a very rare form created in ruby red glass of exceptional brilliance and complemented by richly decorated and gilded bronze handle. The form appears to have been moulded, and then very fine decoration has been skilfully carved in low relief on the surface.

The vessel has a phoenix head spout and relatively naturalistic bird's feathers are depicted on the neck, back and breast. However, the body of the vessel has concentric hoop-shaped flutes decorated with scrolling designs while the central panel on each side bears an archaistic dragon design. The ewer stands on a base formed of swirling waves. It is interesting to speculate on the origins of this form, since it appears to have no direct antecedents. Certainly so-called 'chicken-head' ewers were made in stoneware at the Yue kilns of Zhejiang province as early as the Eastern Jin dynasty (AD 317-420), but these merely had a spout in the form of a bird's head attached to the shoulder of an otherwise normal vessel (see Zhongguo taoci quanji 4 Yueyao, Kyoto, 1981, no. 85). In the Tang dynasty (AD 618-907), under the influence of Persian metalwork, so-called 'phoenix-head' ewers with sancai glazes were made at northern Chinese kilns (see Porcelain of the Jin and Tang Dynasties, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, 31, Hong Kong, 1996, pp. 226-7, no. 208). Once again, however, the depiction of the bird is restricted to the head, and in the case of these vessels there is no shoulder spout and only the opening is on the top of the vessel. Thus, while these vessels show the early establishment of bird-headed ewers in China, neither the Yue nor the sancai ceramic models are convincing as the prototype for this glass ewer. Much closer in concept are two blue and white porcelain flasks dating to the Yuan dynasty (AD 1279-1368). One was excavated in Xinjiang province in 1998, while the other was excavated at the site of the Yuan capital, Dadu, in Beijing in 1970 (see Yuan qinghua, Beijing, 2009, pp. 66-69). These two porcelain flasks share with the current glass example flattened globular bodies, although the porcelain vessels are considerably more flattened, while phoenix-head spouts are to one side of the shoulder, and the depiction of the feathers of the phoenix continue onto the sides and upper part of the flasks.

However, the involvement of European Jesuit missionaries at the Imperial Glassworks in the late 17th and 18th centuries should also be born in mind. It is perhaps significant that the shape of the spout on this glass ewer bears a stronger resemblance to those seen on European silver jugs of the 18th century, than to previous Chinese vessels. It is also perhaps significant that silver drinking cups in the form of birds were popular in Germany in the 17th century (see British Museum registration numbers: AF 374, 375, 376).

The hooped ribs on the sides of the ruby glass ewer also bear examination. These do not appear to have easily related antecedents in China, but do call to mind the curved ribbing seen on rococo shell-form European silver sauce boats of the 18th century, such as those made by Nicholas Sprimont in London (see Victoria and Albert Museum number M.41-1993). Spiral and vertical fluting can of course be seen on many 18th century silver vessels made in England and Germany. For the hooped ribs, or fluting, on the current ewer, a link can perhaps also be seen with 18th century European wrythen glass. However possible inspiration from western countries such as Iran cannot be discounted, as concentric ribs can be seen on some earthenware vessels from that area. An example is the 17th or 18th century purple-glazed jug in the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has concentric pear-shaped ribs on the side of its flattened globular body (see Victoria and Albert Museum number 642-1889).

Another interesting feature of the form of this ewer is the fact that the handle loops over the top of the vessel from spout to back. This is not a common feature on Qing dynasty vessels, but does have antecedents amongst Liao vessels of somewhat similar body shape to the ruby glass ewer. A handle looped over the top of a slightly flattened, round-bodied vessel can be seen, for example, on a 10th century Liao dynasty stoneware flask from the tomb of Yelu Yuzhi and Chonggun at Hansumu Township, Aluke'erjin Banner, Inner Mongolia (illustrated in Gilded Splendor - Treasures of China's Liao Empire (907-1125), Hsueh-man Shen (ed.), New York, 2006, pp. 176-7, no. 39). The handle on the current glass ewer is extremely well made in gilded bronze with low relief plant scroll decoration against a textured ground.

The decoration on the side of the ruby glass ewer is purely Chinese in origin. It is comprised of archaistic kui dragons in a style related to designs inlaid in precious metals on bronzes of the Warring States (475-221 BC) and Han (206 BC-AD 220) dynasties. The archaistic dragons have been particularly skilfully carved in relief. Such archaistic decoration was greatly admired by the Qianlong emperor and appears on a number of the decorative arts made for his court. The Qianlong emperor's love of ruby glass can also be gauged from the fact that the first entries in the Palace Archives relating to glass in the first year of the Qianlong reign were for a bright red glass vase, a vase with red overlay kui dragons on clear glass and a vase with red overlay on opaque white glass (see Luster of Autumn Water - Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Beijing, 2005, p. 74).

Only one other ewer of this type appears to have been published (illustrated The Grandeur of Chinese Art Treasures: Min Chiu Society Golden Jubilee Exhibition, Hong Kong, 2010, p. 418, no. 272). This ewer, in the collection of C.P. Lin, is also brilliant ruby red and is almost identical to the current vessel, except for the inclusion of an archaistic phoenix, in addition to the dragon, in the decoration on the side panels. The C.P. Lin ewer also has a gilded bronze handle with plant scroll decoration. A similar handle can also be seen on a Qianlong ruby glass jug of European form offered in London in 2002 (A & J Speelman, Chinese Sculpture and Works of Art, London, 2002, p. 123, no. 58). The appearance of this handle on a jug of European form adds weight to the suggestion that the form of the current ewer may have derived inspiration from European silver.

very rare Imperial four-colour glass Hu-shaped vase. Qianlong inscribed four-character mark and of the period, (1736-1795). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010

Of archaistic bronze shape, the rounded body tapering to a cylindrical neck, the various areas of the body strikingly composed of rich contrasting colours: an ivory body between a dark red band carved with lotus petals below and the dark red neck carved with bands of dragons and upright leaf tips; a pair of lapis-blue dragon head handles suspending stationary rings; and an emerald-green rim; the four characters of the mark spaced evenly around the broad, flat foot surrounding a countersunk cente; 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm.) high - Est. HK$2,000,000 - HK$3,000,000. Price Realized HK$7,220,000 ($933,548)

Provenance: Alvin Lo & Co.
The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong
The Jingguantang Collection, sold at Christie's New York, 16 September 1998, lot 221

Literature: Splendors of Ancient Chinese Art: Selections from the Collections of T.T. Tsui Galleries of Chinese Art Worldwide, Hong Kong, 1996, no. 82 (middle)

Exhibited : Splendors of Ancient Chinese Art: Selections from the Collections of T.T. Tsui Galleries of Chinese Art Worldwide, Hong Kong, 1996, no. 82 (middle)

Notes: The various areas of the vase may be imitating other materials: the ivory body imitating jade; the carved red areas, carved red lacquer; the handles, lapis lazuli; and the rim, emerald green jade.

A similarly designed three-colour glass alms-bowl, unmarked but dated to the Qianlong period, is illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water: Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, p. 209, no. 59, where the author mentions that this type of multi-coloured glass is extremely rare and only three examples are in the Beijing Palace Museum. Also illustrated, p. 283, no. 112, is a five-colour glass vase with red, white and blue diagonally swirled stripes around the body, dark green foot, and turquoise mouth rim, which has the same unusual Qianlong four-character mark, evenly spaced around the bottom of the foot that is found on the present vase, and on another five-colour glass vase in the Palace Museum, illustrated, ibid., no. 51.

a_rare_large_carved_opaque_imperial_yellow_glass_bowl_qianlong_engrave_d5379609h

A rare large carved opaque imperial yellow glass bowl. Qianlong engraved four-character mark within a square and of the period (1736-1795).

The deep sides rising to a slightly everted rim and carved through a slightly paler outer layer to the somewhat darker ground with an undulating, leafy stem bearing large flowers to create a subtle contrast of yellow tones; 10 3/8 in. (27 cm.) diam. Estimate K$800,000 - HK$1,200,000. Price Realized HK$4,220,000 ($545,647)

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 85

Notes: The decoration and the bold, graceful style of the carving are similar to that of a transparent red glass bowl, with Qianlong mark, in the Andrew K.F. Lee Collection, illustrated in Elegance and Radiance, The Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000, no. 79.

a_rare_imperial_two_colour_red_and_ivory_glass_vase_qianlong_inscribed_d5379605h

A rare imperial two-colour red and ivory glass vase. Qianlong inscribed four-character mark and of the period (1736-1795).

Of ovoid form, the ivory body set between a dark red band of overlapping lotus petals below and a band of shou character medallions flanked by bats on the shoulder, with a pair of dragon scroll handles, and a band of upright leaf tips on the slender trumpet-shaped neck, the four characters of the mark evenly spaced around the outer edge of the bottom of the broad foot ring; 8 3/8 in. (21.4 cm.) high. Estimate HK$1,200,000 - HK$1,800,000. Price Realized HK$3,020,000 ($390,487)

Provenance: The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong
The Jingguantang Collection, sold at Christie's New York, 16 September 1998, lot 219

Literature: Splendour of Ancient Chinese Art: Selections from the Collections of T.T. Tsui Galleries of Chinese Art Worldwide, Hong Kong 1996, no. 82 (right)

Notes: The white body of this vase may be imitating jade, while the carved red areas are imitating carved red lacquer.

The unusually spaced Qianlong four-character mark on the present vase can also be seen on the bottom of the foot of two multi-colour glass vases in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water - Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, p. 283, nos. 51 and 112, as well as the Imperial four-colour glass hu-shaped vase in the Shorenstein Collection, in the present sale, lot xxxx.

a_rare_imperial_small_engraved_moulded_clear_glass_dish_kangxi_period_d5379587h

A rare imperial small engraved moulded clear glass dish. Kangxi period (1662-1722)

The thin, transparent dish with flat base and outward-curving sides decorated on the exterior and underside of the base in fine diamond-point engraving with birds in flight amidst fruiting grape vine; 4¼in. (11 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$500,000 - HK$800,000 . Price Realized HK$2,420,000 ($312,907)

Provenance: Spink & Son Ltd. , London, April 1989

Literature: C. Brown and D. Rabiner, Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame, China Institute in America, New York, 1990, no. 10
C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 20

Exhibited; The Minor Arts of China, Spink & Son IV , London, 1989, no. 108

Notes; It has been noted that the crizzling of the glass, particuarly on the interior of the present dish, suggests a Kangxi period dating as glass production at this early stage tends to have an excess amount of alkali in the preparation, which causes the decomposition of the glass, known as crizzling. Varying and controlling the amount of alkali creates opaque, translucent or transparent glass.

The strong European style in the design of the present dish was probably influenced by the Jesuit missionaries who assisted at the imperial workshops, particularly the Dutch Jesuit, Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688), who was known to be close to the Kangxi Emperor. On closer inspection, the delicate foliage and swirling tendrils clearly show the ragged lines made by diamond-point engraving as opposed to the use of the wheel-cut technique which would have produced a smoother finish. It has been suggested that the ruffling of the surface caused by an overall scratching method is typical of a Dutch technique, rather than the long parallel scratches that characterise Venetian diamond-point engraving, cf. The Minor Arts of China, IV, Spink & Son, London, 1989, p. 84. Diamond-point engraving was also used on a pair of clear glass cups which are similarly decorated with birds and grapevine, and dated to the Kangxi period, in The Corning Museum of Glass, and illustrated by C. Brown and D. Rabiner, Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame, China Institure in America, New York, 1990, no. 11.

a_very_rare_imperial_wheel_engraved_translucent_amber_glass_wine_cup_q_d5379590h

A very rare Imperial wheel-engraved translucent amber glass wine cup. Qianlong engraved four-character mark within a square and of the period (1736-1795)

The deep sides rising from a slightly countersunk base and delicately wheel engraved with orchids and grasses growing beside ornamental rocks, with a bird and butterfly in flight above; 2 7/16 in. (6.2 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$500,000 - HK$800,000. Price Realized HK$2,300,000 ($297,391)

Provenance; J.J. Lally & Co., New York, December 1990

Literature; C.F. Shangraw, "Reflections on the Qing Imperial Glasshouse (1696-1911)", The George and Mary Bloch Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Hong Kong, 1994, p. 42, fig. 8
C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 32

Notes; This cup is very similar to an amber glass cup engraved with a flowering tree and a butterfly, in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water - Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, p. 284, no. 113. The decoration on these cups is wheel-engraved, a technique frequently used instead of diamond-point engraving in Europe in the 18th century. This technique may have been introduced to Chinese glass craftsmen by the Jesuit missionaries working at the court. A transparent pale yellow glass cup of similar shape engraved in diamond point with lilies and a butterfly, with Yongzheng mark, is in the Andrew K.F. Lee Collection, and illustrated in Elegance and Radiance, The Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000, no. 97. It is very likely that glass cups of this type were made in sets, similar to the sets of twelve porcelain wine cups made for the court during the earlier reign of Kangxi (1662-1722), where each cup, of similar tub shape, was decorated in wucai enamels with a different flower corresponding to a month of the year. A set of these porcelain cups is illustrated by R. Scott, Percival David Foundation of Art - A Guide to the Collection, London, 1989, p. 100, pl. 104. ...

an_imperial_opaque_turquoise_glass_tripod_censer_qianlong_incised_four_d5379593h

An Imperial opaque turquoise glass tripod censer. Qianlong incised four-character mark within a double square and of the period (1736-1795).

The compressed body raised on three truncated conical supports, with a pair of handles rising in curved loops from the rim, the glass of rich turquoise hue; 5 in. (12.7 cm.) across. Estimate HK$400,000 - HK$600,000. Price Realized HK$2,300,000 ($297,391)

Literature; C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, no. 49

Notes; The shape of this censer is based on bronze prototypes of the early Ming dynasty. Other glass censers of this shape, but of different colour, have also been published. One in the collection of the Palace Museum, of opaque pink colour, still fitted with its metal liner, is illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji - Gongyi meishu bian, 10, Beijing, 1987, pl. 254. Two others, of opaque yellow and opaque bluish-turquoise colour, in the Andrew K.F. Lee Collection, are illustrated in Elegance and Radiance, The Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000, pp. 182-85, nos. 54 and 55, respectively. ...

a_very_rare_imperial_translucent_blue_glass_zhadou_yongzheng_engraved_d5379589h

A very rare imperial translucent blue glass zhadou. Yongzheng engraved four-character mark within a square and of the period (1723-1735)

The characteristic waisted jar with compressed body and widely flared rim, of sapphire-blue colour, with areas of crizzling; 5 1/8 in. (13 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$700,000 - HK$900,000. Price Realized HK$2,060,000 ($266,359)

Provenance; Spink & Son, London
Bluett Oriental Arts Ltd., London

Literature; Minor Arts of China IV, Spink & Son, London, April 1989, no. 109
C. Brown and D. Rabiner, Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame, China Institute in America, New York, 1990, no. 14
C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 22

Notes; Yongzheng-marked glass wares are very limited in number. The areas of crizzling, which is due to an excess amount of alkali in the preparation, a tendency seen in glass of the Kangxi period, and would suggest that this example may have been produced early in the Yongzheng reign.

an_imperial_red_overlay_pink_glass_bottle_vase_qianlong_four_character_d5379601h

An imperial red-overlay pink glass bottle vase. Qianlong four-character mark within a square and of the period (1736-1795)

The slender pear-shaped body finely carved in varying relief through the transparent raspberry-coloured skin to the opaque pink ground with a meandering stem of leafy peony scroll bearing four blossoms, between a band of lappets below and bands of pendent overlapping stiff leaves and bosses on the tall neck, the spreading foot also encircled by petal lappets; 9¼ in. (23.5 cm.) high. Estimate HK$1,500,000 - HK$2,000,000. Price Realized HK$2,060,000 ($266,359)

Provenance: Previously sold at Christie's New York, 2 December 1989, lot 74

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 90

Notes: This interesting combination of transparent glass overlay carved through to an opaque ground is typical of glass vessels made at the Imperial workshops located within The Hall of Cultivating the Mind, Yangxindian, that were set up in the Kangxi period and continued throughout the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods. Compare with related overlay glass vessels dated to the Qianlong period in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji - Gongyi meishu bian, vol. 10, Beijing, 1987, pls. 263-77. Most of the Beijing examples bear Qianlong reign marks engraved in standard script. The subtle and complementary contrast of the two colours of the present vase is quite unusual.

a_rare_imperial_opaque_mottled_orange_glass_facetted_bottle_vase_qianl_d5379599h

A rare imperial opaque mottled orange glass facetted bottle vase. Qianlong engraved four-character mark within a square and of the period (1736-1795).

Of octagonal section, the slightly concave facets of the body continuing up the slightly tapering neck, the whole raised on a foot of conforming outline, the orange glass swirled with brown, red and ochre to imitate realgar; 5 5/8 in. (14.2 cm.) high. Estimate HK$800,000 - HK$1,500,000. Price Realized HK$1,820,000 ($235,327)

Provenance: Charlotte Horstmann & Gerald Godfrey Ltd., Hong Kong, March 1989

Literature: C.F. Shangraw, "Reflections on the Qing Imperial Glasshouse (1696-1911)", The George and Mary Bloch Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Hong Kong, 1994, p. 40, fig. 4
C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 52

Notes: Like other glass vessels of the Qianlong period, this vase is imitating a natural material, in this case the mineral realgar (arsenic bisulphide, xionghuang), which was an important substance in Daoist alchemical studies. As it was soft and disintegrated into a poisonous powder, imitations in glass could be safely admired and handled. A pair of similar vases imitating realgar, also with Qianlong marks, in the collection of James Biddle, is illustrated by C. Brown and D. Rabiner, Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame, China Institute in America, New York, 1990, no. 29. A pair of purse-shaped glass vases imitating realgar, dated to the 18th century, in the Shuisongshi Shanfang Collection, is illustrated by E.B. Curtis (ed.), Pure Brightness Shines Everywhere: The Glass of China, 2004, p. 73, fig. 8.9. Also illustrated, fig. 8.8, is a small imitation realgar wine cup, one of a set of ten brought to Denmark in 1732, and now in the Royal Danish Kunstkammer.

a_very_rare_multi_colour_overlay_glass_vase_qing_dynasty_18th_century_d5379614h

A very rare multi-colour overlay glass vase. Qing dynasty, 18th century

The pear-shaped body tapering at the shoulder to a tall slender neck, the semi-opaque body of slightly lavender-white colour decorated in yellow and ochre with stems of prunus, pomegranate and finger-citron bearing fruit of vivid red colour interspersed between further boughs of blossoming prunus in blue, with a single yellow bat in flight below the mouth rim; 9 3/4in. (24.7 cm.) high Estimate HK$500,000 - HK$800,000. Price Realized HK$1,460,000 ($188,778)

Provenance: Previously sold at Sotheby's London, 10 May 1988, lot 461

Literature: C. Brown and D. Rabiner, Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame, China Institute in America, New York, 1990, no. 56
C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 78, and illustrated front cover

Notes: The shape and style of decoration of the present vase is similar to one illustrated by C. Brown and D. Rabiner, The Robert H. Clague Collection: Chinese Glass of the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911, Phoenix Art Museum, 1987, no. 26, which is decorated in mustard yellow and red carved overlay with chilong chasing flaming pearls reserved against the opalescent and striated opaque white ground.

a_rare_imperial_carved_opaque_orange_glass_pear_shaped_vase_qianlong_e_d5379606h

A rare imperial carved opaque orange glass pear-shaped vase. Qianlong engraved four-character mark within a double square and of the period (1736-1795)

Carved in imiation of lacquer, the decoration of four shaped cartouches enclosing peony sprays on the rounded body and a band of keyfret and linear arabesques on the neck; 6 in. (15.2 cm.) high. Estimate HK$600,000 - HK$800,000. Price Realized HK$1,460,000 ($188,778)

Provenance: Alvin Lo & Co.

Literature: C.F. Shangraw, "Reflections on the Qing Imperial Glasshouse (1696-1911)", The George and Mary Bloch Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Hong Kong, 1994, p. 49, fig. 5
C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 91

Notes; The present vase with its unusual colour is a rare example of the glass wares produced by the Imperial workshops in imitation of lacquer, and most probably dates to the early Qianlong period. In an article by Zhong Rong, Researcher at the Beijing Palace Museum, published in Zhongguo Zhiyun, April 2010, Mufangxi, The Elegance of Imitation, the author states that as early as the fifth year of Yongzheng (1727) there is written record of the Courts request to make glass vessels in imitation of lacquered chrysanthemum dishes of the Ming dynasty Jiajing period in 15 to 20 different colours.

a_very_rare_imperial_transparent_glass_ovoid_vase_yongzheng_incised_ma_d5379592h

A very rare imperial transparent glass ovoid vase. Yongzheng incised mark within a double-square and of the period (1723-1735).

The ovoid body with high shoulder below a wide cylindrical neck with thick mouth rim; 7 in. (17.8 cm.) high. Estimate HK$500,000 - HK$700,000. Price Realized HK$1,340,000 ($173,262)

Provenance: Plum Blossoms, Hong Kong, 1998

a_rare_imperial_semi_opaque_pink_glass_bottle_vase_qianlong_incised_fo_d5379596h

A rare imperial semi-opaque pink glass bottle vase. Qianlong incised four-character mark within a double square and of the period (1736-1795).

The compressed globular body carved with ten upright petals with pointed tips encircling the base of the tall, cylindrical neck which is further encircled by a raised band similar to that at the mouth rim, of rich pink colour fading to a paler tone below the widest part; 5½ in. (14 cm.) high. Estimate HK$400,000 - HK$600,000. Price Realized HK$1,340,000 ($173,262)

Provenance: P.C. Lu & Sons
The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong
The Jingguantang Collection, Part III, Christie's New York, 18 September 1997, lot 112

Notes: A similar vase, but with a Yongzheng mark, was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28 April 1996, lot 525.

a_rare_carved_transparent_ruby_red_glass_bowl_qing_dynasty_qianlong_pe_d5379611h

A rare carved transparent ruby-red glass bowl. Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795)

The deep, thin sides carved in relief with an archaistic design of taotie masks and chilong between a lappet border below and a ruyi border above, the mouth rim plain, the glass of clear, bright red colour; 6 3/4 in. (17.2 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$250,000 - HK$350,000. Price Realized HK$1,220,000 ($157,746)

Provenance: Previously sold at Butterfield & Butterfield, San Francisco, 16 March 1989, lot 859

Literature: C. Brown and D. Rabiner, Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame, China Institute in America, New York, 1990, no. 46
C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 82

Notes: Claudia Brown and David Rabiner in Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame, China Institute in America, New York, 1987, p. 29, note that the thinness of the body and the "clarity and warmth" of the red of this bowl set it apart from Imperial productions, and that it is more likely to have been made in the glasshouses of Guangzhou. They also note that the thinness and fragility of the glass from Guangzhou was remarked upon as early as the 18th century.

an_imperial_opaque_turquoise_glass_shallow_bowl_qianlong_incised_four__d5379595h

An imperial opaque turquoise glass shallow bowl. Qianlong incised four-character mark within a double square and of the period (1736-1795)

The shallow, rounded sides flaring towards the rim, of rich turquoise blue colour; 6 5/8 in. (17 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$150,000 - HK$250,000. Price Realized HK$1,196,000 ($154,643)

Provenance: Arthur Leeper, 1995

Notes: This dish is similar in shape to two dishes with Qianlong marks in the collection of the Palace Museum illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water: Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, nos. 37 and 38, in transparent red and opaque yellow, respectively.

a_very_rare_pink_overlay_white_glass_vase_carved_cyclical_dingchou_dat_d5379600h

A very rare pink overlay white glass vase. Carved cyclical dingchou date, corresponding to 1877 and of the period

Of slender ovoid shape with tall slightly flared neck, the reddish-pink overlay very thinly and finely carved to the opaque white ground with swallows, two bats and two butterflies in flight amidst flowering prunus, bamboo, chrysanthemum, peony and orchid, with several birds perched in the prunus branches, the colour of the overaly becoming darker in the band of pierced ornamental rocks at the bottom and shading to deep raspberry red in the rounded foot, all below an inscription carved in cameo on the neck, Dingchou Nian Li Shi Zuo, 'Made in the Dingchou year by Master Li', followed by a seal, Li, and another inscription, Sishi Ruyi, with a seal, Weizhi Zhenwan, 'Treasured object of Weizhi', carved on the base; 6 3/4 in. (17.2 cm.) high. Estimate HK$600,000 - HK$800,000. Price Realized HK$980,000 ($126,714)

Provenance: The Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection, Part II, sold at Christie's New York, 22 March 1991, lot 504

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 93
E.B. Curtis (ed.), Pure Brightness Shines Everywhere: The Glass of China, 2004, p. 112, fig. 12.6

Notes: The inscribed phrase, Sishi Ruyi, may be translated as 'May all your wishes come true during the Four Seasons', and relates to the depiction of seasonal plants on the vase.

The present vase is discussed in Pure Brightness Shines Everywhere: The Glass of China, Emily Byrne Curtis (ed.), 2004, p. 111, illustrated p. 112, fig. 12.6. The style of carving is described as being reminiscent of the style of painters known as the 'Eccentric Painters of Yangzhou'. One of these painters, Wang Su, is listed in the Biographies of Seal Carvers, indicating he was also a seal carver, capable of working with glass, and a group of carved glass snuff bottles, of the 'seal school' type, are signed by Wang Su. This may also have been true of other artists who had settled in or near Yangzhou, including Li Junting. The name Master Li in the inscription on the present vase, as well as the seal on the base, Weizhi zhenwan, may refer to Li Junting, as one of his art names is Weizhi. The authors also illustrate, p. 112, fig. 12.7, a carved glass snuff bottle with an inscription which includes the name Master Li of Jingjiang. Li Junting was a known philanthropist from Yangzhou and was active during the late 19th century.

a_rare_three_colour_opaque_glass_baluster_vase_qing_dynasty_possibly_q_d5379604h

A rare three-colour opaque glass baluster vase. Qing dynasty, possibly Qianlong period (1736-1795).

The vase with a white inner layer overlaid in contrasting colours to define the different areas of the body; the spreading pedestal foot, lower body and neck in opaque pink, the shoulder in intense bluish-green ending just above a cut edge, and the mouth rim in opaque, bright blue contrasting against the slightly translucent white of the interior, the Qianlong incised four-character reign mark evenly spaced around the outer edge of the slightly concave, solid base; 5 7/8 in. (14.9 cm.) high. Estimate HK$500,000 - HK$700,000 . Price Realized HK$920,000. ($118,956)

Provenance: Previously sold at Christie's New York, 18 September 1997, lot 288

Notes: This vase belongs to a rare group of multi-colour glass vases, where the various sections of the vase are delineated by different, contrasting colors. One such vase in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water - Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, no. 51. The shape of the two vases, although not identical, is quite similar. The Palace Museum vase is five colour, and does not appear to have a white inner layer. It has a Qianlong four-character mark in which the characters are spaced evenly around the countersunk center of the base. Another vase of this type in the Palace Museum is also illustrated, no. 112. It has an ovoid body and trumpet-shaped neck decorated in opaque red, white and blue with diagonally swirled stripes, a dark green spreading foot, a turquoise mouth rim, and a white inner layer which can be seen on the interior of the neck. It too has a Qianlong four-character mark inscribed in a manner similar to that of the aforementioned Palace vase, and to the other Imperial four-colour hu-shaped vase in the Shorenstein Collection, offered in the present sale, lot 2929.

a_rare_moulded_transparent_blue_glass_ribbed_bottle_vase_kangxi_period_d5379588h

A rare moulded transparent blue glass ribbed bottle vase. Kangxi period (1662-1722)

The compressed globular body moulded with twelve slender ribs continuing under the countersunk base, with thinner ribs extending the length of the tall, slender neck which flares slightly towards the rim and is encircled by a ring below the mouth, the glass slightly crizzled; 6 in. (15.2 cm.) high. Estimate HK$400,000 - HK$600,000. Price Realized HK$920,000 ($118,956)

Provenance: S. Bernstein, San Francisco, 2000

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 19

Notes: This vase may be based on European prototypes, reflecting an interest in European glass of 17th and 18th century date. Compare two 17th century Dutch blue glass bottles of similar shape, but with engraved decoration, illustrated by B. Klesse and H. Mayr, European Glass from 1500-1800: The Ernesto Wolf Collection, Vienna, 1987, nos. 160a and 160b. On these two bottles the ring encircling the neck served to secure a metal band and attached stopper.

a_rare_imperial_carved_transparent_cobalt_blue_glass_bottle_vase_qianl_d5379608h

A rare imperial carved transparent cobalt-blue glass bottle vase. Qianlong engraved four-character mark within a square and of the period (1736-1795)

The pear-shaped body raised on a low foot ring and tapering towards the tall, slender neck that flares slightly towards the thick mouth rim, carved in relief with an exuberant design of large hibiscus blossoms borne on scrolling, leafy stems; 10 3/8 in. (26.3 cm.) high. Estimate HK$300,000 - HK$500,000. Price Realized HK$860,000 ($111,198)

Provenance: Previously sold at Butterfield & Butterfield, San Francisco, 16 April 1992, lot 701

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 88

a_very_rare_early_translucent_aqua_glass_cup_han_dynasty_d5379576h

A very rare early translucent aqua glass cup. Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).

The sides rounding upwards from the base to a double grooved band where the body begins to taper slightly towards the lipped rim, of bluish-turquoise colour, with some soil encrustation; 3 in. (7.7 cm.) diam.. Estimate HK$100,000 - HK$150,000. Price Realized HK$620,000 ($80,166)

Provenance: Previously sold at Christie's New York, 1 December 1994, lot 350

Literature: B. Borrell, (in press), Trade and Glass Vessels Along the Maritime Silk Road
B. Zorn (ed.), Glass Along the Silk Road, from 200 BC to AD 1000, International Conference, Mainz, 11-12 December 2008, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz

Notes: This cup is an early example of blown glass in China. The shape of this cup is probably based on foreign examples brought into China during the Han dynasty. Compare the green glass cup of similar shape and slightly smaller size (5.8 cm. diam.) unearthed in Gui Xian county, Guangxi province in 1957, illustrated by Fan Shimin and Zhou Baozhong, "Some Glass in the Museum of Chinese History", R.H. Brill and J.H. Martin (eds.), Scientific Research in Early Chinese Glass, The Corning Museum of Glass, 1991, p. 196, fig. 5, which the authors describe as a foreign import, as a chemical analysis showed that it did not contain lead, but is a potash-lime-silica glass.

an_imperial_large_transparent_blue_glass_bottle_vase_qianlong_inscribe_d5379620h

An imperial large transparent blue glass bottle vase. Qianlong inscribed four-character mark within a double square and of the period (1736-1795)

Raised on a slightly flared foot, the globular body carved with vertical lobes below a plain band at the base of the tall cylindrical neck, of rich blue colour; 10 5/8 in. (27 cm.) high Estimate HK$350,000 - HK$550,000. Price Realized HK$620,000 ($80,166)

Provenance: Previously sold at Christie's New York, 2 June 1989, lot 231
P.C. Lu and Sons, Ltd., Hong Kong, December 1989

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 46

Notes: The lobed body of the present vase is quite unusual, and is an attractive variation of the more usual glass bottle shape, with plain globular body and tall cylindrical neck, such as the taller (14 7/8 in.) transparent blue example illustrated by C. Brown and D. Rabiner, The Robert H. Clague Collection: Chinese Glass of the Qing Dynasty, Phoenix Art Museum, 1987, no. 11, which is dated to the second half of the 18th century.

an_imperial_transparent_olive_green_glass_octagonal_bottle_vase_qianlo_d5379597h

An imperial transparent olive-green glass octagonal bottle vase. Qianlong incised four-character mark within a double square and of the period (1736-1795)

The somewhat spreading body raised on a tall foot and tapering towards the tall, gently tapering neck, all carved with eight slightly concave facets; 4 7/8 in. (12.3 cm.) high. Estimate HK$250,000 - HK$350,000. Price Realized (HK$500,000 ($64,650)

Provenance: P.C. Lu & Sons
Spink & Son Ltd., London, December 1989

Literature: C.F. Shangraw, "Reflections on the Qing Imperial Glasshouse (1696-1911)", The George and Mary Bloch Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Hong Kong, 1994, p. 47, fig. 2

Exhibited: Chinese Jewellery and Glass, Spink & Son Ltd., London, 6-20 December 1989, no. 143

Notes: In the archival records, the unusual colour of the present vase is known as "transparent tea yellow". This shape of vase was being made as early as the Yongzheng period, and a transparent blue glass example with an engraved Yongzheng four-character mark in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water - Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, p. 124, no. 6. Also illustrated are two opaque glass examples of this attractive shape, both with Qianlong marks - one turquoise, no. 22, the other blue, no. 23.

a_rare_imperial_opaque_opalescent_white_glass_vase_qianlong_four_chara_d5379594h

A rare imperial opaque opalescent white glass vase. Qianlong four-character mark engraved within a square and of the period (1736-1795)

Made in imitation of white jade, the waisted globular body carved with two bands of petal lappets below and above the indented mid-section, all below a tall cylindrical neck, and raised on a low foot; 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm.) high. Estimate HK$400,000 - HK$600,000. Price Realized HK$475,000 ($61,418)

Provenance: Spink & Son, London

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 56

Exhibited: Chinese Jewellery and Glass, Spink & Son Ltd., London, 6-20 December 1989, no. 115

an_imperial_transparent_blue_glass_facetted_bottle_vase_qianlong_engra_d5379598h

An imperial transparent blue glass facetted bottle vase. Qianlong engraved four-character mark within a square and of the period (1736-1795)

Raised on a spreading foot with slightly recessed base, the globular body and tall neck carved with ten facets, the glass of deep sapphire blue colour; 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm.) high. Estimate HK$350,000 - HK$550,000. Price Realized (HK$437,500 ($56,569)

Provenance: Alvin Lo & Co.
Previously sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 9 October 1990, lot 1999

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass in Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 45

Notes: This vase appears to be a facetted variation of the more usually seen plain bottle vase with globular body and tall, cylindrical neck, such as the transparent blue example of larger size (37.8 cm.), dated to the second half of the 18th century, illustrated by C. Brown and D. Rabiner, The Robert H. Clague Collection: Chinese Glass of the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911, Phoenix Art Museum, 1987, no. 11. A pair of transparent red facetted vases, with Yongzheng marks, is illustrated by C. Brown and D. Rabiner, Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame, China Institute in America, New York, 1990, no. 19.

a_carved_opaque_imperial_yellow_glass_bowl_qing_dynasty_18th_19th_cent_d5379607h

A carved opaque imperial yellow glass bowl. Qing dynasty, 18th/19th century

The compressed globular body rising to a short, slightly curved neck and wide mouth, the sides carved with two four-clawed dragons contesting a 'flaming pearl' above rocks and spume-flecked waves, raised on a narrow, banded foot rim
6 3/4 in. (17.2 cm.) diam.

a_very_rare_small_translucent_blue_glass_reliquary_bottle_tang_dynasty_d5379579h

A very rare small translucent blue glass reliquary bottle. Tang dynasty (618-907)

The flattened globular body with a short cylindrical neck and a small lug handle at the shoulder, the mouth rim with U-shaped indentation, the very thin cobalt-blue body suffused with bubbles, swirls and inclusions; 2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm.) high. Estimate HK$50,000 - HK$70,000. Price Realized HK$400,000 ($51,720)

Provenance: Previously sold at Christie's London, 7 June 1993, lot 98
Eskenazi, London

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 9

Notes: This small vessel would have had another tiny lug handle similarly attached through heating to the opposite shoulder. The exact use of small glass vessels of this type is unknown, but they may have been associated with Buddhist functions, perhaps as reliquaries.

two_small_carved_opaque_lemon_yellow_glass_facetted_bottle_vases_qing_d5379621h

Two small carved opaque lemon-yellowglass facetted bottle vases. Qing dynasty, 18th/19th century

Each carved with ten concave facets rising from the foot of conforming outline and continuing up the tall neck, incised allover with 'cracked ice' pattern incorporating prunus blossoms around the body, one with a Yongzheng four-character mark incised within a square, the other similarly incised Qianlong four-character mark; 5 7/8 in. (15.1 and 15 cm.) high (2). Estimate HK$120,000 - HK$180,000. Price Realized HK$400,000 ($51,720)

Provenance: Previously sold at Sotheby's New York, 11-12 April 1990, lot 193

Literature: C.F. Shangraw, "Reflections on the Qing Imperial Glasshouse (1696-1911)", The George and Mary Bloch Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Hong Kong, 1994, p. 48, fig. 3
C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, nos. 26 and 27

Notes: The facetted bottle shape of these two vases appears to have been popular from the Yongzheng period onward. It was made in both transparent and opaque glass, and in different colours. Two opaque yellow vases of similar shape, one with a Yongzheng mark and one with a Qianlong mark, in the Andrew K.F. Lee Collection, are illustrated in Elegance and Radiance, The Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000, nos. 15 and 18, respectively. The unusual feature of the two present vases is the carved decoration of prunus and 'cracked ice', a pattern seen on blue and white porcelain of Kangxi date.

an_unusual_three_colour_glass_overlay_bottle_vase_qing_dynasty_18th_19_d5379616h

An unusual three-colour glass overlay bottle vase. Qing dynasty, 18th/19th century.

The opaque ochre body swirled with translucent striations and applied with overlays in transparent red and blue carved as fish and water plants, the apocryphal Qianlong reign mark wheel-engraved on the slightly recessed base; 7 in. (17.8 cm.) high. Estimate HK$150,000 - HK$250,000. Price Realized HK$400,000 ($51,720)

Provenance: Oriental Art Gallery, London, May 1994

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 74

Notes: Compare the bottle vase of similar size, also with an ochre ground, and decorated in blue and red overlay, but with chilong rather than fish, dated to the 18th century, illustrated in Chinese Jewellery and Glass, Spink & Son Ltd., London, December 1989, p. 101, no. 171.

a_fine_and_rare_imperial_transparent_ruby_glass_circular_box_and_cover_d5379617h

A fine and rare imperial transparent ruby glass circular box and cover. Qianlong engraved four-character mark within a square and of the period (1736-1795).

Of compressed cushion form, the cover carved with a yinyang roundel, the glass of rich ruby-red colour; 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$200,000 - HK$300,000. Price Realized HK$400,000 ($51,720)

Provenance: Previously sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 9-10 October 1990, lot 2000

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 48

Notes: The yinyang symbol represents complementary opposites.

a_very_rare_small_translucent_blue_glass_reliquary_bottle_tang_dynasty_d5379579h

An imperial translucent cobalt-blue glass shallow dish. Qianlong carved four-character mark within a double square and of the period (1736-1795)

The shallow, rounded sides rising from the ring foot to the flat rim; 6 7/8 in. (17.6 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$150,000 - HK$200,000. Price Realized HK$375,000 ($48,488)

Provenance: Charlotte Horstmann, Hong Kong, November 1987

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 47

Notes: Glass dishes of this shape appear to have been made in various colours, in either transparent or opaque glass. A similar transparent blue glass dish of 18th century date is illustrated by C. Brown and D. Rabiner, The Robert H. Clague Collection: Chinese Glass of the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911, Phoenix Art Museum, 1987, no. 8. See, also, a pair of transparent red glass dishes, with Qianlong marks, no. 57. An opaque yellow glass dish with inscribed Qianlong mark in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water - Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, no. 38. Another opaque yellow and a translucent amber dish in the Andrew K.F. Lee Collection, both with Qianlong marks, are illustrated in Elegance and Radiance, The Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000, nos. 27 and 26, respectively.

an_unusual_gilt_metal_mounted_blue_glass_circular_box_and_cover_qing_d_d5379619h

An unusual gilt-metal-mounted blue glass circular box and cover. Qing dynasty, 18th/19th century.

Of cushion form, the deep blue glass cover and box encased in European-style foliate, gilt-metal strapwork, the top of the cover with a slightly raised medallion decorated with a flower head with radiating pointed petals, the interior of the box and cover with gilt-metal liner and the gilt-metal base centered by a miniature gilt-metal flower head; 5¾ in. (14.6 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$200,000 - HK$300,000. Price Realized HK$375,000 ($48,488)

Provenance: Previously sold at Christie's New York, 18 September 1997, lot 290

Notes: Gilt-metal embellishments on a glass vessel appear to be quite rare. A blue glass jar and cover with gilt-copper embellishments and mounts, dated to the Yongzheng period, is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, and illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water - Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, no. 10. Unlike the present, and later, Qianlong period box with its European-influenced mounts, the mounts on the Palace jar are decorated with more typical Chinese-inspired decoration - an openwork design of phoenixes in flight amidst clouds around the sides. What appears to be a pedestal foot, however, is encased by joined vertical sheets of gilt-copper chased with wind-tossed waves rising from rolling waves strewn with precious objects. The entry states that the combination of glass and engraved gilt-copper is "reflected in the documents of the Imperial Workshops in the Yongzheng period".

a_very_rare_semi_translucent_pale_milky_blue_green_glass_baluster_vase_d5379586h

A very rare semi-translucent pale milky blue-green glass baluster vase. Song/Yuan dynasty, 13th century.

The body tapering from a softly stepped shoulder to a spreading, intergral foot, all below a slightly waisted neck and out-turned, foliated rim; 6¾ in. (17 cm.) high . Estimate HK$200,000 - HK$300,000. Price Realized HK$225,000 ($29,093)

Provenance: J.J. Lally & Co., New York, 9 December 1992

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 13

Notes: The inspiration for this very rare vase appears to be qingbai porcelain of Song and Jin dynasty date. The pale, blue-green colour and the translucent quality of the glass are reminiscent of qingbai glazes. The shape and out-turned foliations of the mouth rim are related to those of two qingbai vases, with fuller bodies, illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 1, London, 1994, nos. 606 and 607. See, also, a Cizhou-type vase, dated to the Jin dynasty, in the National Museum, Tokyo, illustrated by M. Tregar, Song Ceramics, New York, 1982, p. 78, no. 76, which has a stepped shoulder similar to that of the present vase, as well as a very similar out-turned mouth rim.

a_large_opaque_pink_glass_bottle_vase_qing_dynasty_18th_century_d5379591h

A large opaque pink glass bottle vase. Qing dynasty, 18th century.

With bulbous body raised on a ring foot and surmounted by a thick-walled cylindrical neck, the opaque glass of raspberry-pink tone with darker swirling throughout; 16 3/8 in. (41.6 cm.) high. Estimate HK$200,000 - HK$300,000. Price Realized HK$225,000 ($29,093)

Provenance: The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong
The Jingguantang Collection, Part II, sold at Christie's New York, 20 March 1997, lot 32

Notes: Compare an opaque pale blue glass bottle vase of similar size and shape, illustrated by C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 51. See, also, the pink glass vase of similar shape, but slightly smaller size (37 cm. high), inscribed with a Qianlong four-character mark, sold at Christie's New York, 29 November 1990, lot 106.

an_unusual_blue_overlay_white_glass_bell_shaped_bottle_and_stopper_18t_d5379624h

An unusual blue-overlay white glass bell-shaped bottle and stopper. 18th/19th century.

Of Bavarian-style glass, the bottle cut through the blue overlay to the opaque white ground with a design of foliate arabesques, the base carved with a chrysanthemum blossom, the stopper similarly decorated; 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm.) high. Estimate HK$120,000 - HK$180,000. Price Realized HK$212,500 ($27,476)

Provenance/ A. & J. Speelman, London, 1991

a_small_multi_colour_overlay_opaque_green_glass_tripod_jar_qianlong_pe_d5379615h

A small multi-colour overlay opaque green glass tripod jar. Qianlong period (1736-1795).

The globular body raised on three conical supports, decorated with four chilong carved in relief from white overlay shown amidst flaming pearls and clouds carved from the deep rose-pink overlay, all in contrast to the striated green body. 3 1/4 in. (8.2 cm.) high  Estimate HK$150,000 - HK$200,000. Price Realized HK$187,500 ($24,244)

Provenance/ Previously sold at Sotheby's London, 10 May 1988, lot 476
Spink & Son, London, April 1989

Literature/ C. Brown and D. Rabiner, Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame, China Intitute in America, New York, 1990, no. 58

Notes/ A related tripod jar or incense burner, with thick translucent green body similarly decorated in white overlay with chilong separated by reddish-pink lingzhi, rather than the flaming pearls of the present vessel, dated to the first half of the 18th century, is illustrated by C. Brown and D. Rabiner, The Robert H. Clague Collection: Chinese Glass of the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911, Phoenix Art Museum, 1987, no. 22. See, also, the small ovoid vase with similar opaque green body and similar chilong and flaming pearls carved from white and reddish-pink overlay, inscribed with a Qianlong four-character mark, in the Andrew K.F. Lee Collection, illustrated in Elegance and Radiance, The Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000, no. 124.

an_unusual_opaque_yellow_glass_vase_qing_dynasty_18th_century_d5379610h

An unusual opaque yellow glass vase. Qing dynasty, 18th century.

The high-shouldered body narrowing towards the slightly flared foot and tapering towards the thick, lipped mouth rim, the base with an apocryphal six-character Qianlong sealmark; 6 3/4 in. (17.2 cm.) high. Estimate HK$150,000 - HK$250,000. Price Realized HK$187,500 ($24,244)

Provenance/ Charlotte Horstmann & Gerald Godfrey Ltd., Hong Kong, November 1987

Literature/ C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 65

Notes/ A vase of this unusual shape, in resemblence to a ceramic meiping vase, but in transparent glass is illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water - Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, p. 163, no. 30.

a_transparent_green_glass_cup_tang_liao_dynasty_9th_12th_century_d5379577h

A transparent green glass cup. Tang-Liao dynasty, 9th-12th century.

With deep sides flaring slightly towards the mouth rim, and raised on a shallow foot ring, of light green colour, with some encrustation
2 1/4 in. (5.3 cm.) high. Estimate HK$30,000 - HK$50,000. Price Realized HK$175,000 ($22,628)

Provenance: Eskenazi, London, 13 June 1994

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 8

Notes: This cup appears to be related to smaller cups of similar shape and colour, such as the pale green example (2.4 cm. high), excavated in 1957 from the Sui dynasty tomb of Li Jingxun, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji - Gongyi meishu bian, 10, Beijing, 1987, p. 118, no. 226, which appears to be slightly thicker than the present cup.

an_early_translucent_pale_blue_glass_bowl_han_dynasty_d5379581h

An early translucent pale blue glass bowl. Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220)..

The shallow, rounded sides moulded with ribs that end at a plain area below the polished rim; 5¾ in. (14.5 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$45,000 - HK$65,000. Price Realized HK$125,000 ($16,163)

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 7b (left)

Notes: An analysis of this bowl conducted at the Surface Science Laboratories, Mountain View, California, demonstrated that it is of Chinese origin.
The ribbed decoration is unusual in Chinese glass of Han date, and was probably influenced by foreign glass bowls manufactured during the late Hellenistic and early Roman periods, 2nd to 1st centuries BC. For a discussion and illustration of foreign bowls of this type see C.S. Lightfoot, "Some Examples of Ancient Cast and Ribbed Bowls in Turkey", Journal of Glass Studies, vol. 35, 1993, The Corning Museum of Glass, pp. 22-38, and figs. 29-49.

an_unusual_blue_glass_vase_qing_dynasty_18th_century_d5379623h

An unusual blue glass vase. Qing dynasty, 18th century.

The elongated ovoid body rising to a narrow neck, with an outer layer of deep blue colour over a clear inner layer, raised on a low blue glass ring reserving the clear glass base; 10 5/8 in. (27 cm.) high. Estimate HK$100,000 - HK$150,000. Price Realized HK$112,500 ($14,546)

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 39

Notes: The unusual shape of this vase appears to be based on earlier Tang dynasty prototypes, such as two glass bottles of related shape illustrated by An Jiayao, "The Early Glass of China", R.H. Brill and J.H. Martin (eds.), Scientific Research in Early Chinese Glass, Corning Museum of Glass, 1984, pp. 13-14, figs. 17 and 18. The first is of green glass from the Tang dynasty tomb of Li Tai, Yunnan, Hubei province; the second is a small bottle from a Tang stupa at Ningan, Heilongjiang province.

This vase was produced by a method known as flashing, in which a layer of glass of deep colour is laid over a clear inner layer, in order to enhance the transparency and clarity of the colour of the glass.

a_transparent_blue_glass_octagonal_baluster_vase_qing_dynasty_early_19_d5379627h

A transparent blue glass octagonal baluster vase. Qing dynasty, early 19th century.

The squat body carved with eight facets rising from the correspondingly lobed foot to the waisted neck which rises to a flared rim. 5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm.) high. Estimate HK$60,000 - HK$100,000. Price Realized HK$112,500 ($14,546)

Provenance/ Charlotte Horstmann & Gerald Godfrey Ltd., Hong Kong, August 1989

a_small_blue_overlay_white_glass_facetted_jar_and_cover_qing_dynasty_1_d5379626h

A small blue-overlay white glass facetted jar and cover. Qing dynasty, 19th century.

The globular jar and domed cover cut through the transparent blue overlay to the opaque white body with a honeycomb pattern of dots arranged in rows, the cover with knop finial; 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm.) high. Estimate HK$40,000 - HK$60,000. Price Realized HK$100,000 ($12,930)

Provenance/ Spink & Son Ltd., London, May 1988

a_translucent_pale_aqua_blue_glass_offering_dish_tang_liao_dynasty_9th_d5379575h

A translucent pale aqua-blue glass offering dish. Tang-Liao dynasty, 9th-12th century.

Raised on a low pedestal foot, with slightly flared, shallow, upright sides encircled by a raised edge at the bottom and at the rim; 7 in. (17.8 cm.) diam. Estimate HK$35,000 - HK$65,000. Price Realized HK$87,599 ($11,314)

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 7b (right)

Notes: The shape of this dish is most likely to have been inspired by metal prototypes.

An analysis of this dish conducted at the Surface Science Laboratories, Mountain View, California, demonstrated that it is of Chinese origin.

a_small_transparent_smoky_blue_glass_cup_qing_dynasty_18th_19th_centur_d5379625h

A small transparent smoky-blue glass cup. Qing dynasty, 18th/19th century.

Probably made to imitate smoky quartz, with a loop handle formed as a stylised dragon; 3 5/8 im. (9.1 cm.) across handle. Estimate HK$40,000 - HK$80,000. Price Realized HK$75,000 ($9,698)

Provenance: Spink & Son Ltd, London, 6 December 1989

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 53

Exhibited: Chinese Jewellery and Glass, Spink & Son Ltd., London, 6-20 December 1989, no. 141

a_very_rare_iridescent_pale_green_glass_tripod_reliquary_jar_and_cover_d5379583h

A very rare iridescent pale green glass tripod reliquary jar and cover. Song dynasty, 10th-12th century.

The globular body with three raised bosses positioned between the three slender, curved supports, with a depression around the mouth to receive the cover which has a deep collar below a flared top and tall finial, the glass now encrusted and opaque, and iridescent in areas; 6¼ in. (15.9 cm.) high  Estimate HK$60,000 - HK$80,000. Price Realized HK$68,750 ($8,889)

Provenance: J.J. Lally & Co., New York, 22 June 1994

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 11

Notes: This unusual vessel is probably based on bronze prototypes, and may relate to other glass items found in Buddhist relic caches, such as those illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji - Gongyi meishu bian, 10, Beijing, 1987, pls. 233-35.

a_set_of_eight_miniature_transparent_green_glass_cups_tang_liao_dynast_d5379578h

A set of eight miniature transparent green glass cups. Tang-Liao dynasty, 9th-12th century.

Each with deep sides below a slightly everted rim, and raised on a shallow, flat, circular foot, of bright, almost blue-green colour, with soil encrustation; 7/8 to 1 in. (2.3 to 2.5 cm.) diam. (8).Estimate HK$60,000 - HK$80,000. Price Realized HK$60,000 ($7,258)

Provenance: J.J. Lally & Co., New York, October 1994

Literature: C.F. Shangraw and C. Brown, A Chorus of Colors: Chinese Glass from Three American Collections, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1995, no. 10

Notes: It is possible that these miniature cups may have come from a Buddhist crypt, as they relate to glass found at the Famen Temple and also in Liao dynasty tombs.

three_early_small_amber_glass_cups_tang_liao_dynasty_9th_12th_century_d5379580h

Three early small amber glass cups. Tang-Liao dynasty, 9th-12th century.

Each with deep, rounded sides flaring up towards the rim, of brownish-amber colour, with some encrustation and areas of iridescence; 1 3/16 in. (3.1 cm.) (3). Estimate HK$7,000 - HK$9,000. Price Realized HK$27,500 ($3,556)

Notes: It is possible that these cups may have come from a Buddhist crypt, as they relate to the glass found in the Famen temple and Liao tombs.

Christie's. Luminous Colours: Treasures from the Shorenstein Collection, 1 December 2010, Hong Kong www.christies.com