Snuff bottles formerly in the Mary and George Bloch collection (lots 100-146)
A transparent emerald-green and colourless glass 'chi dragons' snuff bottle
Qing dynasty, 1730-1770 Of globular form, the transparent, emerald-green glass carved as a single overlay with a continuous design of two chi dragons. 7cm high.
Provenance 來源: Zhirou Zhai Collection Hugh M. Moss Ltd., Hong Kong (1993)
Illustrated 出版: 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 942
This magnificent carving is linked to a series of early glasswares, usually in blue, red or green on a bubble-suffused, colourless ground. The series is also characterized by high, well-rounded relief with an extraordinary sculptural quality, wide mouths, and remarkable technical control. The chi dragon bottles from this group have an appearance quite distinct from those displaying other subjects, and thence to a series of masterly carvings that seem to be imperial output from the height of the art during the first half of the Qianlong period.
The chi dragon - always a courtly favourite - was among popular subjects for the group. The court remains the most likely source of these bottles. It is significant that whenever this subject appears on the group it is delineated and carved with remarkable fluidity and artistry. When a pale emerald-green glass is overlaid on colourless glass, as they sometimes are with this group, the lack of contrast partly obscures their appeal, but they are always of compelling quality. They swoop and curve in dynamic poses, heads turned and powerful thighs thrusting their forelegs out to 'grip' the air they inhabit. This is big, bold, almost certainly imperial glass carving at its most powerful, and nowhere does it appear more impressive than on snuff bottles.