An Overview of Qing Glass

23 There are many other specific records of Imperial glass snuff bottles during the Yongzheng period which are covered fully in the Bloch glass volume, among which are a number of grape-colored bottles and others in red, presumably ruby-red, but in 1727 (third month, thirteenth day) there is mention of a five color threaded glass snuff bottle, and two monochrome yellow glass snuff bottles, with instructions to give them to the glass factory ( bolichang ) to make similar pieces. 19 Threaded glass may refer to anything with threads of a different color stretched into a transparent matrix, one variety of which is figure 27 , which might be from the period we are dealing with, although it is shown here more as an example of the type than necessarily of the period. Any number of colors can be swirled in this manner, although there are usually fewer than five. There is a tantalizing record from 1727 (extra third intercalary month, third day) with an admonition from the Emperor, transmitted by Director Hai Wang: “ I look at the products of the Zaobanchu . Before there were fewer good pieces, but they were in Imperial style ( neiting gongzao ). Although the recent works are exquisite, they are not of Imperial style, and look like they are foreign- made. When you are making pieces in the future, do not lose the style of the Inner Court ( neiting ). ” 20 We have no way of knowing precisely what the Emperor meant by “ foreign-made, ” but we may assume that from 1727 until his death in 1735, the Emperor would not have been ordering overtly European styles. His successor immediately, and blatantly, reversed the trend by not only showing his enthusiasm for European style but for European content as well, with a series of well documented European subjects painted at the court in enamels on glass, metal and porcelain during the first decade of the reign. The admonition may be of little real value in dating at present, but it is, nonetheless, one of the growing number of clues which will allow us, eventually, to date snuff bottles far more accurately. Figures 28 and 29 are of a distinctive color of glass which may well be the color described in 1727 (seventh month, twentieth day) when reference is made to a “ newly made transparent-yellow glass, very much like honey-amber. ” 21 The second of these bottles is decorated with a Fig. 27. Swirled or threaded jasper-like glass bottle, 1730–1840. Bloch Collection. Fig. 26. Blue overlay on colorless ground carved with a chi dragon on each side, 1710–1750. Bloch Collection. Fig. 29. Transparent golden-yellow glass bottle decorated with a mallow flower on each side, 1725–1790. Bloch Collection. Fig. 28. Transparent golden-yellow glass bottle, 1720–1830. Bloch Collection.

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