Transparent peacock-blue glass suffused with air bubbles of small size, a few slightly elongated; with a flat lip and recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding flattened footrim 1740-1820 Height: 5.91 cm Mouth/lip: 0.65/1.65 cm Stopper: tourmaline; plastic collar
Condition: Practically imperceptible chips to outer lip; tiny nibbles to inner lip; otherwise, workshop condition
Provenance: Edith Griswold Sotheby's, New York, 31 May 1994, lot 635
Exhibited: British Museum, London, June-October 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July-November 1997
Distinctive peacock-blue glass bottles such as this are relatively rare, which is perhaps surprising in view of the fact that its colour is not only lovely, but one that could be made to a satisfactory standard during the eighteenth century. An example of the same colour and identical form and detailing is to be found in the Franz Collection (Franz and Franz 1999; Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 5 May 1994, lot 1317; and no. 439 in the forthcoming catalogue of the glass portion of the Franz Collection). The two must have been made at the same time and place, presumably as part of a set. The Franz bottle is inscribed with a poem by the Ming painter Tang Yin (1470 1523). This was at the behest of the Qianlong emperor in 1793, if we correctly interpret the phrase yuti, for this is neither his poem nor his characteristic calligraphy; in any case, the date is helpful, though it does not tell us whether there was a significant period of time between the making of the bottle and the addition of the inscription.
The Franz example notwithstanding, no feature of this version sans inscription would preclude an Imperial provenance, and the neat, standard courtly mask handles with their precisely circular rings would endorse such an attribution.