Opaque, variegated scarlet, orange, yellow, green, mahogany-brown, and dark brown glass (known as 'realgar-glass'); with a flat lip and flat foot 1720-1830 Height: 6 cm Mouth/lip: 0.98/1.73 cm Stopper: jadeite, hollowed and artificially coloured from the inside; gilt- bronze collar
Condition: bubbles polished through at surface part of original process; miniscule nibbles to inner lip
Exhibited: Hong Kong Museum of Art, March-June 1994 National Museum, Singapore, November 1994-February 1995
This example combines some surface splashes of the customary realgar colouring with the darker range of mahogany colours. In reality, it is only the way the colours are used that is unusual. Close examination of the surface reveals all the standard realgar-glass colours, but with the visual balance shifted to the darker ones.
The narrow-side vertical lines of different colour reveal that, in common with so many of this shape, it was blown into a mould. In other regards, it is formally unusual. Extremely light compared to most bottles blown into moulds, this example has an unusually wide mouth, with an interior impeccably formed to perfectly match the exterior profile. Another interesting feature is provided by the manner in which brighter colours were added to the surface here. Some of the colours are in discreet, angular segments, albeit swirled with other colours within the segment. It is obvious that chips or fragments of realgar-glass (cullet) have been laid on the marvering surface and rolled into the gatherthe most common way of achieving such surface decoration. As a rule, the gather would again be placed in the furnace to melt the two together before it was blown and further manipulated. Where the chips retain their original sharp edges, however, it is possible that the bottle was blown before the surface fragments were rolled in. The heat from the original gather may have been sufficient to integrate them, although it might be necessary to put the whole bottle into the furnace to help this process.