An Overview of Qing Glass

24 mallow flower, a symbol of loyalty to the Emperor which frequently occurred on palace arts, presumably on gifts to officials (which were plentiful throughout the period) to inspire them to serve the Emperor well. The mallow, like the sunflower follows the path of the sun, which in Chinese cosmology, represents the Emperor, hence the loyalty symbolism. The combination of yellow, the Imperial color, and this design, together with the sort of high- quality carving and perfection of detailing and finish which was typical of early-eighteenth century court carving, allows a reasonable attribution to the Imperial glassworks although, of course, the carving would have been done in the lapidary workshops (officially known as the “ Gold and jade workshops ” ), not in the glassworks itself, which had attached only a grinding and polishing workshop. Figure 30 represents another type, which we know is from this early period. It is of a distinctive form, with faceted sides based on highly stylized bamboo stalks, which represents a meeting of Chinese subject matter and Western faceting techniques. On each main side is a diamond-point engraved design of flowers, very similar in style to that on other wares datable to the Yongzheng or early Qianlong period. From the first year of the Qianlong period, in 1736, there is a record of the various types of glass made at the Imperial glassworks which includes vases and four snuff bottles in a variety of colors: bright red, red overlay on colorless glass, red overlay on opaque white, clear glass, red and yellow, green and olive. 22 If red overlay on colorless glass was being made in the first year of Qianlong, we may assume it was an earlier development, and the well-known small peach bottle from the J & J Collection is a likely candidate for the period ( fig. 31 ). It is very similar in feeling to figure 12 and part of the same early group. In this same year, the number of glass snuff bottles presented by the Zaobanchu, or Palace Workshops is changed, from one hundred to sixty at the Duanwu Festival, and to sixty at the Nianjie Festival. 23 This was a custom instigated in 1724 by Prince Yi Fig. 30. Ruby-red faceted glass bottle with engraved design of flowers, 1720–1745. Bloch Collection. Fig. 31. Red overlay with peach design on colorless glass, 1715–1760. J & J Collection. Fig. 32. Dark green and deep ruby-red glass with inclusions of aventurine splotches, the foot inscribed in regular script, Qianlong nianzhi [Made during the Qianlong period], 1736–1770. Bloch Collection. Fig. 33. Dark green glass bottle with aventurine inclusions, 1723–1780. Bloch Collection. Fig. 35. Gold splashes on a bluish-green ground glass bottle, the base marked in seal script, Xuegu tang [Hall for the Study of Antiquity], 1720–1780. Bloch Collection. Fig. 34. Gold-splashed black ground glass bottle, the base with a four-character Qianlong mark.