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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
April 19, 2018, 12:34:19 pm
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Blue Chi Dragon Overlay

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Author Topic: Blue Chi Dragon Overlay  (Read 203 times)
forestman
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« on: October 27, 2017, 11:51:19 am »

This is the second of the overlay bottles I bought recently along with the red one and is my first blue overlay (yeah, go me).

Height is 56 mm. There are 4 Chi dragons around the bottle amongst cloud symbols. You don't often see borders on overlay bottles but this has what were described as palmette borders to the neck and base. The neck opening is quite narrow and is concave. The stopper was described as grey agate. Not sure of the material of the collar or spoon. The overlay forms a deep footrim with a convex base following the base glass shape. Date was given as 1820-1880.

Regards, Adrian.


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Rube
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2017, 06:16:50 pm »

Nice one Adrian!
I donít have one yet, so I canít follow suit.
Cheers,
Rube
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Rube, 4th Generation Collector

forestman
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2017, 05:01:52 am »

This bottle is proving to be something of an enigma.

I have a fairly extensive collection of books and catalogues and I can't find another example like this anywhere.

I've included 2 pictures below from the Treasury books of the Bloch collection which are as close as I can find and represent what are a very few glass bottles with formalised borders but the only examples have plantain leaf borders which are all of the same length and mimicked designs from older porcelain objects.

Mine has a palm leaf border and the leaves are much longer which results in the leaves on the shoulders being longer than the others so they end up at the same height on the bottle.

The examples I've pictured are on a solid coloured bottle and a 2 colour overlay, there are no examples on single colour overlays.

The close up of the base of my bottle shows there is a network of fine cracks in the clear base colour. You can only see them from certain angles but they extend over the whole surface of the inside of the bottle. I don't know if this is deliberate, there were ways that they produced a "cracked ice" effect on glass.

When you add in the depth of the footrim and the concave lip it seems a very rare thing.

Any comments or anyone know of any other similar examples.

Regards, Adrian.


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pookles
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2017, 07:07:00 am »

Adrian,

I can see the cracking you mention - no idea what that is as it doesn't seem to be crizzling? I read somewhere that crizzling was a common feature of early glass SBs. It looks well polished to me inside all the recesses and edges of the glass... looks like a nice bottle to me.

Best,
Luke
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Luke
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2017, 09:22:39 am »

Hi Luke,

As ever the Treasury books are a great resource for finding things out.

I had thought crizzling was a type of glass rot so didn't produce cracking but below is a better close up of my bottle and a close up picture from the Treasury books of extensive crizzling.

It was a problem associated with earlier production from the Imperial glassworks.

I would say my bottle is generally very well worked, clear glass is pretty unforgiving and there is some evidence of tooling marks that haven't been entirely removed.

Regards, Adrian.


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pookles
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2017, 03:48:43 am »

Hi Adrian,

nice find! Yeah, a problem associated with the early production of glass imperial snuff bottles. Maybe it's logical to assume early private production also if the imperial glassworks were experiencing the problem? Just guessing! I don't remember the exact dates, but I thought by midway through the Qianlong reign they had better control over glass production and crizzling was no longer a problem.

It is hard to find examples just like your bottle though. I had a look through a few usual places, but cannot find any clear bottles with a similar border around the neck. I feel sure I've seen one though! Although I don't remember where - I did spot these overlays with that particular detail:

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/a-green-and-pink-overlay-white-glass-snuff-bottle-1780-1860-6058326-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=6058326&sid=07e22fd7-e545-49ef-9b00-872292532ba5

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O76040/snuff-bottle-unknown/

Best,
Luke
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Luke
forestman
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2017, 10:14:18 am »

Hi Luke,

Thanks for adding those 2 examples as they are slightly different to the ones I found which were in the Treasury books, Robert Hall, Chinese snuff bottles II and the Burghley House Collection.

All the ones I found had plantain borders of the same length whereas you have found 2 with longer leaves over the shoulders like mine (although with plantain leaves not palm leaves). One of yours has the plantain leaves carved out of both overlay colours which I hadn't seen and the V and A bottle is more rectangular in shape whilst all the others are rounded. It is also the only one with multi colour overlays on a single plane.

The comment about the plantain leaf ones is as follows;

There is a distinctive group of glass bottles which clearly developed at some time during the first half of the 19th Century and continued towards 1900. They are characterised by the use of multiple overlays, complex genre scenes, neck borders of this type and frequently use the inside of the footrim for further decorative elements. They are usually fairly crudely carved, although frequently with considerable folksey charm, presumably on the basis that with such fancy colours the quality of carving was less important. This group has been extensively faked in the past few years (comment 1989) but the modern fakers tend to have missed the point of the crudeness and the folk art quality of the originals, tending to apply rather too fancy carving to a group that never aspired to it in the first place.

You see on ebay numerous modern bottles from China with plantain leaf neck borders although I can't see any appeal in them.

Crizzling seems to have been an Imperial glassworks problem that came with the Jesuit Missionaries so may not have been happening in any private workshops.

Regards, Adrian.
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Joey
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 04:31:14 am »

Dear Adrian,

      Crizzling is extremely fine cracking on the interior surface of bottles mainly from the Kangxi to early Qiankong periods.
The coarse cracking your bottle shows, is typical of modern bottles from ca. 1970-2000
Tom has a number of bottles with similar cracking.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2017, 05:00:23 am »

Dear Joey and Adrian,

Yes, I noticed that in those close up shots, and quietly shuddered.
I sincerely hope it is NOT the same type of course cracking that has ravaged several of my bottles. Fingers crossed.

Tom
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Tom
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forestman
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 05:57:35 pm »

Dear Joey and Tom,

From what I gather from the Treasury books, crizzling is either seen on the inside surface or could extend through to the outside as well and could range from light to extensive in it's degree. It's hard to see from any examples with lighter crizzling if they may resemble the cracking on my bottle.

Reading about crizzling shows it builds up over time until ultimately causing the glass to break down. It can be affected by humidity and the amount of whatever leads to the crizzling in the mix. So a bottle showing crizzling through to the outer layer is showing a more advanced degree of crizzling than one with crizzling just on the inside but could be the same age if it was stored in more suitable conditions. Hope that makes sense.

I was under the impression that the degrading of Tom's bottles was more likely an annealing problem than a crizzling one. It could be a problem of different types of glass being fused rather than an annealing problem.

Even if glass is annealed properly, if unsuited glass types are mixed that have different properties then it causes internal stresses to occur that can cause cracking. Simply colouring a glass, which may need less than 1 percent of material to be added, can alter it so it is not suited to fuse to the uncoloured glass no matter how carefully annealed. Certain colours caused more problems than others and solid as opposed to clear colours caused more problems. This may explain why some overlay colours or combinations were rarer than others.

A way of overcoming the problems was to add lead to the glass which makes it more elastic and less liable to crack and early Chinese glass tended to contain quite high proportions of lead.

Tom's cracking problems seem to be on camphor based bottles. It seems logical to say that glass with things added to create camphor, snowflake or bubble suffused grounds would be weaker and more prone to cracking than say a solid coloured or clear glass. More modern and/or cheaper glass would have less lead content again making it more prone to cracking.

The cracks on my bottle are only on the inside. I don't know if glass can crack just on one surface without cracking all the way through in which case it would have to be crizzling which is a break down of the glass structure through a chemical imbalance and so can be only be on one surface ?

Regards, Adrian.
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Jungle Jas
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2017, 03:30:11 am »

Dear Adrian,

A very compressive synopsis if I may say, I must try and obtain a set of the books you have been studying.

Regards Jas.

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