Snuff bottles formerly in the Mary and George Bloch collection (lots 100-146)
A pale yellow glass snuff bottle
Attributed to the Imperial glassworks, Beijing, 1720-1840 Of flattened pear-shaped form, the glass of a pale yellow colour. 5.7cm high.
Provenance 來源: John Ford and Associates Belfort Collection (1986)
Illustrated 出版: Viviane Jutheau, Guide du collectionneur de tabatières chinoises, Paris, 1980, p.58, fig.2 Robert Kleiner, Chinese Snuff Bottles in the Collection of Mary and George Bloch, British Museum Press, London, 1995, no. 117 Hugh Moss, Victor Graham and Ka Bo Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles. The Mary and George Bloch Collection, Volume 5, Hong Kong, 2002, no.699
Exhibited 展覽: British Museum, London, June-October 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July-November 1997
This elegantly formed and impeccably detailed bottle is of the paler range of imperial yellow. We can be reasonably confident that any yellow glass was initially imperial. During the late Qing dynasty, the rights to the use and display of a four-clawed dragon as a personal emblem, previously granted only as an honour to those elevated to the nobility by the emperor, were more freely distributed and sometimes even sold. At such a time, imperial prerogatives may have been less constraining.
While we know that yellow glass is imperial, it does not necessarily follow that it was made at the imperial glassworks, although that remains the most likely place of manufacture for the majority of yellow glass objects. We may in some instances be able to identify palace style in carving, but plain, undecorated bottles such as this example, could equally have been ordered from any glassworks. The possibility also exists that imperial yellow wares were made elsewhere for presentation to the court. Yellow grounds, for instance, are common enough on Guangzhou enamels on metal made for the court, so there is no reason, in theory, why imperial yellow glass snuff bottles should not have been made elsewhere.