An Overview of Qing Glass

17 production for a good deal of glass from the Qianlong period. Figures 64 and 65 , on the other hand, can be reasonably dated to around the 1760s. The first is thought to be a design, which became popular in 1759 and represents a bannerman riding back to Beijing to bring the Emperor news of the Qing victory over the rebels on the northwest borders— a victory that brought into the empire the whole of Turkestan or what is now Xinjiang province. It would have been a popular courtly subject for a few years thereafter, probably less so as the century wore on. The poem refers to Imperial victory and other examples are known of the subject in glass and agate. The carving style relates this to figure 65 , and thereby to various other bottles. This red overlay, probably also dating from the 1760s, is one of the finest of all cameo overlay carvings from China or, indeed, from anywhere else. It is so stunning that I have been tempted, once again, to suggest the possibility of Castiglione or one of the other Jesuit artists at court as the designer (not, of course, as the carver). Figure 66 is one of a well-known and spectacular group which we can date to the mid-Qianlong period, and the same is probably true of figure 67 , although possibly related only in color combination. With figures 68 and 69 we come to some unusually solid dating given the problems of Qing glass attribution in general. In a seal on the bottle in figure 68 is a cyclical date corresponding to 1780. The heavy crizzling of the transparent azure blue ground, and the style of carving, allows a firm attribution to this particular cycle. Because of the style and content of the poem on one side, we can link it to a whole series of other bottles, helping to date them as well. It also enables us to date a series of multiple cameo overlay carvings, the most spectacular of which by far is figure 69 . Both bottles are pivotal early examples of a dragon style, which became very popular on court carvings in glass, and Fig. 65. Ruby-red overlay on snowstorm ground carved to illustrate a horse and bat on each side, 1750–1780. Bloch Collection. Fig. 66. White overlay on dark sapphire-blue ground carved with two lily flowers on each side, 1750–1790. Bloch Collection. Fig. 64. Transparent ruby-red overlay on white glass carved with a poetic inscription in clerical script on one side, 1759–1770. Bloch Collection.