An Overview of Qing Glass

22 the records a similar term is used to describe several objects in five different colors, but here, whether the reference is to one or two different bottles, it seems to be a single bottle with five colors involved. It seems unlikely that five-color cameo overlays would have evolved by the first year of the Yongzheng period, although not impossible, and I suspect this refers to glass bottles with various colors swirled or splashed together, which we come across below. If there is only one bottle involved, then it is with five colors and aventurine “ splashes. ” Otherwise, the aventurine glass bottle may have been carved from a solid block since the evidence suggests that the Chinese could not make aventurine glass at this early date. Although possibly made after 1750, there is one such bottle in the Bloch Collection, which could be from the early Qianlong period ( fig. 25 ). From 1726 (second month, tenth day) comes the first mention of a cameo overlay glass snuff bottle, which we have already discussed. If the pair of snuff bottles with chi tiger decoration was, as I suspect, decorated with chi dragons, then we have an ideal candidate in figure 26 . This could even pre-date the Yongzheng period, since the colorless ground is crizzled and the carving style is early, but in any case is not likely to be much later. Fig. 24. Spinach green glass carved with eight vertical facets, 1723–1770. J & J Collection. Fig. 25. Aventurine glass bottle. Bloch Collection. Fig. 23. Bluish-purple octagonal glass bottle. Crane Collection. despite a lack of marks. Figure 22 is of the right color for the early- eighteenth century. It has a wide mouth like many early glass bottles and is of the same conception as figure 3 , the sapphire-blue glass bottle we have attributed to the late Kangxi period. It too has integral snuff dishes with raised, beaded frames. More excitingly, there is one bottle that we can link tentatively to the Yongzheng records. In 1725 (eleventh month, twenty-eighth day), the Emperor commanded the eunuch Zhang Jingxi to have copies made in various different colors of a grape- colored octagonal glass snuff bottle. 17 Grape-colored probably refers to purple, and in the Crane Collection there is a magnificent example, complete with its original glass stopper, which fits the description very well ( fig. 23 ). It is more purple in the flesh than in the illustration though, admittedly, a rather bluish purple. A remarkably similar bottle in another color, perhaps one of those ordered as a copy, is in the J & J Collection ( fig. 24 ). Interestingly it has a contrasting, but apparently still original stopper. On the transparent purple of the first example, a matching stopper works better than it would on the translucent green glass, where a coral-colored contrast is more telling. Earlier in the Yongzheng period, in 1723 (first month, ninth day) the Emperor sent to the glassworks via Prince Yi (Yinxiang) an aventurine ( “ gold-star ” ), and a five color glass snuff bottle, with an order to copy them several times, resulting in an order for a total of one hundred and twenty-six various colored glass snuff bottles. 18 The reference seems to refer to two separate bottles, but it is just possible that a single “ aventurine, and five-color glass bottles ” was intended. The reference to a five-color glass bottle is intriguing. Elsewhere in Fig. 22. Turquoise-green glass bottle carved with framed circular panel on each side, 1710–1760. Bloch Collection.