An Overview of Qing Glass

18 continued, albeit with lower and lower standards well into the nineteenth century. Two characteristics are worth noting: the drilled holes to represent gaps between the claws and in the clouds (obvious in fig. 68 ), and the starfish- shaped tail of the dragon, evident on both. This finest of all the star-tailed dragon group presumably dates from the 1770s or 1780s. It is related to a group of double overlay bottles many of which have acanthus-leaf necks ( fig. 70 ). They are conceptually similar to this star- tailed dragon masterpiece in having three layers of color with the middle Fig. 69. Double overlays of milky white and transparent sapphire-blue colors on white glass carved with a continuous design of two four-clawed dragons, 1760–1790. Bloch Collection. Fig. 68. Semi-transparent white overlay on peacock-blue ground carved with a dragon on one side, the reverse with a seal script inscription followed by a cyclical date seal, 1780. Bloch Collection. Fig. 70. Double overlays of deep brown and translucent turquoise-blue colors on white glass carved to illustrate children at play, the reverse with an open pavilion and attendants, 1780–1820. Bloch Collection. Fig. 67. White overlay on dark sapphire- blue ground carved to illustrate trees with prunus blossoms and animals. layer used as a net-like pattern, but there are other features that link them. It seems likely that the acanthus-leaf neck group is a little later and probably continued into the last decade or two of the eighteenth century and thence, in devolved form, into the nineteenth century. Another masterpiece from the Qianlong period, perhaps from the 1760s to 1780s, is the basket of flowers from the J & J Collection ( fig. 71 ). It is one of those spectacular bottles which is in a class with the star-tailed dragon bottle and represents the height of Qianlong glass carving where impeccable skill and commitment join with extraordinary artistic grace to create some of the finest glass bottles ever made. One other group of bottles that can be fairly precisely dated to the latter part of the Qianlong period is inscribed with the studio name, Guyue Xuan . In 1767 the Jian Yuan was completed in the Changchun Yuan complex (a series of Imperial gardens to the West of Beijing adjoining the Yuanmingyuan). One of the halls within the Jian Yuan was the Guyue Xuan. The Changchun Yuan was intended as a retirement