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A glass overlay bottle

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Author Topic: A glass overlay bottle  (Read 416 times)
samsonlzj
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« on: February 05, 2018, 09:53:03 am »

Dear all,

It’s been some time since I last posted a bottle on the forum. I’ve been busy with family, work, and study lately, but have been following the discussions here from time to time.

This time I’m sharing a glass overlay bottle that’s I recently acquired. Hope you all like it.

Provenance: Robert Hall, London, 2011.
Ruth and Carl Barron Collection, Belmont, Massachusetts

Best to all,
Samson


* E960DAE7-E803-442A-8FDB-4C7B75C60171.jpeg (146.9 KB, 640x837 - viewed 68 times.)

* 4CDC64DB-1ABA-44BB-B701-C62F164E1CD5.jpeg (173.38 KB, 640x940 - viewed 53 times.)
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albert
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2018, 01:33:24 pm »

Thanks for sharing, it is a very beautiful bottle with awesome stopper!!
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samsonlzj
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2018, 06:19:18 pm »

Thanks Albert! Smiley

Best,
Samson
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Steven
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2018, 09:46:01 pm »

Thanks for sharing! Samson,

A stunning bottle with great provenance!

Congratulations!

Steven
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samsonlzj
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2018, 11:56:57 pm »

Thanks Steven! Wink

Best,
Samson
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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2018, 01:48:39 am »

Hi Samson,

Lovely bottle. I would like to have seen a picture of the ring handles as I find it interesting to see how many different styles there are and wonder if there are some types that may be particular to a certain workshop or period but haven't noticed any texts that comment as such.

Regards, Adrian. 
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Joey
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2018, 02:19:00 am »

Dear Adrian,

      That's a great idea. I have simply examined the taotie for quality, but not made lists of styles, though it has always been a given that the Yangzhou Seal School bottles in glass, ca.1820-1880, have very long rectangular 'rings' and relatively simple 'masks', or even just bats. Simple but elegant and very well to superbly done [the range based on the overall quality of the bottle; it is understood that there were quality/price level differences].
Best,
Joey


Hi Samson,

Lovely bottle. I would like to have seen a picture of the ring handles as I find it interesting to see how many different styles there are and wonder if there are some types that may be particular to a certain workshop or period but haven't noticed any texts that comment as such.

Regards, Adrian. 
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2018, 02:23:15 am »

Dear Samson,

    I've been run off my feet since I returned home to Jerusalem, Israel, and have had a cold or flu in addition.
    Please send me privately what I told you when I looked at this beautiful bottle 'live', and I'll post it here.
             
           
     When I saw it, I gave it a dating of ca.1760-1830. You asked if it could be Imperial Palace Workshops, and I said it might be, but might also not be. It has the quality, but the question is the subject matter. If that is a Mudan (Imperial Tree Peony) illustrated on one side, it could well be Imperial.

    After the Transitional Period in B & W Ceramics ca. 1620-1660, the subject matter became more informal than previously. And this carried into the stuff other than B & Ws.
Thanks,
Joey
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 06:34:33 pm by Joey » Report Spam   Logged

Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2018, 07:52:52 am »

Samson,
Another nice bottle! Congratulations!

Adrian,  I agree with you about the different types of handles/rings as a possible identifier. I think it would be helpful too.  I’ve always thought that circular rings were more prone to be imperial? And, that the more elaborate the mask, the younger it is?

Cheers,
Rube
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2018, 02:59:35 pm »

Dear Samson and all,
I continue having the feeling that “Imperial” is used a little too easily in the snuff bottles field.
Dear Samson your bottle is a really nice one, finely carved and polished, but why could be imperial?
I do not see the reason for that. As said by Joey, the subject motif is really important in Imperial ware.
This bottle has not a definite traditional subject.
On the first side seen here, there is a lotus, then another three which type is not clear to me, but not peony for sure. Then a bird which too is not clear: it lacks the long tail for being a phoenix, and it has an extra tuft for being a crane. Plus other two things in the sky, which looks like fishes but then it would be a non sense; probably small birds?
On the second side, we have another unknown plant (again, not peony. At least, the flowers could look like peony but the leaves not) and then a plum tree.
I don’t understand what is the main subject in the air; a butterfly may be? And then again a fish, or else.
I may be wrong but I don’t believe that the whole bottle has a special meaning.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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samsonlzj
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2018, 06:30:45 pm »

Dear all,

Thanks!

Dear Joey, thanks for your comment. I learned something new re: imperial subjects this time and it’s implication on whether a bottle could have an imperial source. And also the implication of a side facing and front facing dragon... Smiley In any case, I’m very content and happy about this bottle for its quality.

Dear Giovanni,

Thanks for your comments too and for your attempt to interpret the subjects depicted from the carvings on the bottle. Well I think being a little ‘ambiguous’ can be a good thing sometimes, it sparks off the imagination of whoever appreciating it... Cheesy Of course, if it could be an imperial ware, that would be a bonus! Otherwise I’m still very happy!

Best to all,
Samson
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2018, 09:59:51 am »

Dear Giovanni,
 
     You could be right that the term 'Imperial' is bandied about too much.
But snuffing was called 'an Imperial obsession', so possibly there is a close Imperial connection to snuff bottles.

     Obviously, with 36 million Han Chinese in the Qianlong period, even if we assume that only the top 1% collected top quality examples, there had to be a lot of top quality non-Imperial bottles around.

Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 10:19:01 pm »

Dear Joey,

I could not agree more with your comments.

There are still a lot of top quality bottles we might not have seen, even though many had been acquired over the last 100 years by Western collectors of Asian, especially Chinese, works of arts. We have also heard of stories of so called ' gurus ' who said certain bottles were ' imperial ', only to be disproved later by new researches or evaluations by records surfaced by museums in Beijing and Taipei.

I have seen some very exquisite bottles in the hands of certain collectors in Singapore which I would say are of top qualities, probably of imperial qualities. The collections were previously in the hands of a small circle of goldsmiths in Hong Kong.

Inn Bok
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Tom B.
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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 10:37:24 pm »

Dear Samson,

Congratulations on another nice addition to your collection.  Very high quality, but no one could conclusively describe it as more than "possibly Imperial" or "probably Imperial".  There are precious few glass snuff bottles that can be confidently described as “Imperial Workshop” and they are predominately either impeccably carved Imperial yellow glass or signed with a reign mark.  The exceptions will generally have a related example in the Imperial collection.  

I tend to agree with Giovanni and Joey that there was a demand for high quality goods outside the direct Imperial court. Personally I think that some of the high quality bottles that have earned the “possibly Imperial” label, are actually snuff bottles made for the emperor to give as gifts to reward his high-ranking loyal subjects.


I found an interesting footnote in Lot # 8023 of Bonham's New York sale on September 16, 2013:

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20998/lot/8023/

A red glass overlay snuff bottle  1750-1820

Of compressed ovoid form with a flat lip and a high oval foot rim surrounding a recessed foot, the transparent, bubble suffused glass with a single ruby red overlay, carved in high relief and boasting a continuous design of nine interacting chi dragons.   2 5/8in (6.7cm) high

FOOTNOTES

Provenance:  T.Y. King, Hong Kong

Although chilong or chi dragons are a common motif on red glass overlay snuff bottles, the representation of nine in this example is auspicious and significant due to the importance of the number nine in Chinese culture. According to Daoist numerology the number nine has the greatest Yang (masculine) and is related to Heaven, as was the emperor, i.e. The Son of Heaven. As a result imperial objects would frequently bear the nine-dragon motif. Despite the imperial allusions that adorn the bottle, they do not unequivocally signify it as solely an emperor's possession; the profusion of court robes worn by higher ranked nobles and princes that also bear nine dragons indicate this symbolism was widespread among the upper echelons of the imperial hierarchy.




Best regards,

Tom B.
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Best regards,

Tom B.

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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2018, 07:39:47 am »

Dear Samson,

As I said previously, lovely bottle, and with provenance as well but personally I wouldn't say Imperial as I wouldn't consider it of top quality which isn't meant rudely.

The picture of your bottle below was first going to highlight the use of hollow tube drills which I would think would have been the first steps in carving out the design of the overlay. There is evidence of them being used in numerous places, far more than you would normally see.

What you also notice is the tool marks from using them haven't been polished out in all places. You can also notice from the light falling onto the bottle that the base layer in numerous places shows a general lack of final polishing that would have given it a smoother appearance. The pictures we tend to post here are much larger than life size and make it easier to see detail.

While the general carving of the overlay is very good, as Giovanni pointed out, there are areas where the subject is not easily identifiable which I would expect for something Imperial.

A feature of red overlays said to be Imperial is the gem like quality of the red which when highly polished loses any opaqueness and becomes very transparent. I have a number of red overlays and each has a different tone of red and level of opaqueness. I would imagine that different workshops would each use slightly different mixes to achieve their reds but once they had a mix it would be stuck to as altering a mix even slightly can cause problems although the amount of lead used would have made it easier to alter a mix. A lot of these reds would never be anything other than opaque no matter how highly polished.

There were Imperial bottles made for Emperors and high ranking officials that would be finished to a higher level than say the numerous gift bottles that were made twice a year in early reigns to celebrate the New Year and the Emperors birthday but it might be unlikely that gift bottles would be rare subjects due to the numbers made. The facetted octagonal bottles are considered to be gift bottles and due to the numbers you see I would think the carved mallow flower bottles were likely gift bottles. There are some Chi dragon overlays that may have used a pattern to give the shape of each Chi and so may have been made in higher numbers.

Regards, Adrian.


* 4CDC64DB-1ABA-44BB-B701-C62F164E1CD5_LI (3).jpg (91.66 KB, 443x710 - viewed 26 times.)
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« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2018, 02:02:07 pm »

Dear Inn Bok,

      Or when said 'gurus' had sold off their stock of the so-called 'Imperial' bottles, and 'corrected' their prior opinion. And prior to buying them back at 20 cents on the dollar, and THEN, 're-discovering' their Imperial provenance....
Best,
Joey


Dear Joey,

   We have also heard of stories of so called ' gurus ' who said certain bottles were ' imperial ', only to be disproved later by new researches or evaluations by records surfaced by museums in Beijing and Taipei.
 

Inn Bok
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2018, 01:59:28 pm »

Dear Adrian,
I agree with you about the polishing of this bottle.
It is well polished, but the surface is not even.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2018, 03:26:54 am »

Dear Adrian,

Thank you for your input. Smiley

Best,
Samson
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2018, 08:05:59 am »

Hi Samson,

Just by way of example of very similar bottles that show differences. Not the best picture of 2 Chi overlays which are probably the most common subject in overlays. This suggests there were "standard" designs that may have been produced over a relatively long time period and/or by a number of different studios.

Regards, Adrian.


* P2150818.jpg (96.61 KB, 710x596 - viewed 22 times.)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 08:12:57 am by forestman » Report Spam   Logged

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