Lot 3633. A very rare engraved imperial yellow glass bowl, Yongzheng four-character mark and of the period (1723-1735); 6 3/4 in. (17 cm.) diam. Estimate HKD 800,000 - HKD 1,200,000. Price Realized HKD 1,700,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.
The tall gracefully waisted sides engraved with four Shou roundels framed by undulating foliate scrolls and connected by four small lotus blossoms, all supported on a distinctive dish-shaped foot, the transparent glass of slightly greenish-yellow tone, the reign mark incised in a line below the everted rim.
Literature: E. B. Curtis, 'Yongle Glass: Elegant Forms', The National Palace Museum Monthly of Chinese Art, September 2009, no. 318, p. 65, no. 4.
Note: In an article, by E. Curtis, ibid., the present bowl's distinctive form calls to mind offering bowls known as Qingshuiwan, Pure Water Bowls, used in Buddhist ceremonies. The form was first seen in ceramic wares of the Xuande period, and were also popular in the Yongzheng period with many known porcelain examples with doucai and blue and white decoration. As the bowl is inscribed with Shou characters, Curtis speculates it may have also been produced by court order on the occasion of the Emperors birthday and placed as a food container on an altar.
Imperial engraved bowls of this form and pattern are known. Compare with the blue glass bowl in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco illustrated by C. Brown and D. Rabiner, Clear As Crystal, Red as Flame, New York, 1990, fig. 12; another blue blass bowl in the Andrew K.F. Lee Collection, retaining its cover, with additional traces of gold on the incised decoration is illustrated by Humphrey Hui and Peter Lam, Elegance and Radiance, Grandeur in Qing Glass, Hong Kong, 2000, pp. 256-259, fig. 94.