More than a Game / A SMALL IMITATION REALGAR GLASS WINE CUP Incised Qianlong four-character mark and of the period (2)
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A SMALL IMITATION REALGAR GLASS WINE CUP
With deep rounded sides rising to a flared rim and supported on a straight foot, the glass of bright variegated tones of crimson-red and brown swirled together to resemble the realgar mineral, the base with the four-character mark within a square, box. 5.1cm (2in) diam. (2).
The practice of arrow vase emerged from the drinking game in the military of Zhou dynasty. The loser who threw less arrows to the vase would be punished by drinking alcohol. No matter how the roles complicated or how the ritual changed through thousands years, drinking alcohol as the punishment remained the same, however, the alcohol has been innovated. Since steamed liquor was introduced to China in the Yuan dynasty by Arabians, with higher alcohol degree, the size of drinking cups trended to be smaller. The present lot, with its small size, should be used for Chinese white liquor.
The realgar mineral may have been one of the constituents used by Daoists in their search for the Elixir of Immortality. It was so prized that the yellow-orange arsenic sulfide mineral was often imitated in glass, including vessels made for the Imperial Court during the celebrated Qianlong reign. See a pair of imitation realgar glass vases, Qianlong four-character seal marks and period, illustrated by E.S.Rawski and J.Rawson, ed., China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795, London, 2005, p.304, no.234.
See an imitation realgar glass wine cup, Qianlong four-character mark and of the period, which was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29 May 2013, lot 2312.
投壺起源於軍中宴飲，兩千多年投壺規則、玩法變化多端，然而輸者罰酒的規則一直保留下來。元代出現蒸餾酒後，酒精度數變高，飲酒一般改用小杯，而雄黃杯用於飲酒，則可辟邪崇。乾隆一朝玻璃技術精進，能倣多重材質，可比較一對清乾隆雄黃瓶，見E.S.Rawski and J.Rawson編，《China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795》，倫敦，2005年，頁304，編號234。