An 'Imitation Aquamarine' Glass Snuff Bottle, Probably Imperial Glassworks, Beijing, 1750-1820. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2013
The high-shouldered ovoid bottle is carved with eight vertical facets tapering towards the raised circular footrim. The shoulders are carved with a band of ruyi suspending vertical columns of bosses. A band of petal lappets encircles the base. The matching domed cover is carved with petal lappets and is surmounted a round finial. The glass is of pale blue tone and is suggestive of aquamarine. 2 9/16 in. (6.5 cm) high, original glass stopper. Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000
Provenance: William Doyle Galleries, 26 October 1983, lot 68.
Literature: Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, Baltimore, Winter 1996, front cover.
Notes: This bottle belongs to a group of glass bottles probably made in the Palace Workshops in the late Qianlong period, all of which feature this vertically lobed form with small bosses suggestive of beaded tassels. Some, like the present example, retain their original stopper. Carved from a block of glass and exhibiting a formal grace, this example appears to be the largest and most bulbous of the group. A similar bottle, but lacking the original stopper, from the J & J Collection, is illustrated in Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, The J & J Collection, Vol. II, New York, 1993, p. 585, no. 350.
Confirming the probability of the Imperial nature of the glass group are Qianlong-marked examples of the same form, such as the bottle in the Mary and George Bloch Collection also in imitation of aquamarine, illustrated in Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, The Mary and George Bloch Collection, Vol. 5, Part 2, Glass, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 405, no. 861. Well-hollowed agate versions include the bottle inscribed on the sides and bearing a four-character Qianlong mark, illustrated in Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, The Mary and George Bloch Collection, Vol. 2, Part 2, Quartz, Hong Kong, 1998, p. 471, no. 355. Qianlong-marked white glass examples inscribed with poems also appear to belong the group, further strengthening the imperial connection (for an example in the Mary and George Bloch Collection, ibid. see pp. 426-7, no. 871.) A further imperial link is a yellow glass example from the Edward C. O'Dell Collection, illustrated in Chinese Snuff Bottles, The Edward Choate O'Dell Collection, The Asia House Gallery, New York, 1982, p. 55, no. 109.
Christie's. The Hildegard Schonfeld Collection of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles. 21 March 2013. New York, Rockefeller Plaza.