An Overview of Qing Glass

19 home for the Qianlong Emperor, although he never took up full- time residence there. 46 The Emperor commemorated his new home by ordering a series of enameled glasswares bearing the name and, although much rarer, one or two glass bottles which were not enameled. Figures 72–74 are three genuine examples bearing the mark (there have been forgeries made recently, including one exact copy of the bottle in fig. 72 ). They can all be dated to the period from about 1767 into the 1770s. There is another group of bottles, which can be tentatively dated to the late Qianlong period, but we will deal with this under the mid-Qing heading, since they lead to a school, which flourished in the early- nineteenth century. There is one other distinctive group of glass carvings, which includes vessels other than snuff bottles dateable to the Qianlong period, although when in this long reign they were made is still a puzzle. They are represented by figures 75–79 . They are more frequently reign marked than any other group of bottles and both snuff bottles and other vessels remain in the Imperial Collection in some quantities. They must be from the Imperial workshops, and the typical, four-character Qianlong reign mark in regular script was used during the very early years of the reign, although it continued in use thereafter. It is tempting to date the entire group to the early part of the reign except that it is characterized by often rather crude carving, which is puzzling. As a rule, the standards of carving at court were very high in the early part of the reign. At the court, teams of designers and carvers would have changed frequently during so long a reign, and this may represent the work of one particular group of artisans, but the frequent signs of relatively crude carving on so Imperial a group of wares is Fig. 73. Translucent white glass carved on the narrow sides with mask and ring handles, 1767–1790. Bloch Collection. Fig. 74. Realgar glass carved with mask and ring handle on each side, mark on the base. puzzling and may suggest a date from later in the reign. What we can be sure of is that they are from the Qianlong period and are Imperial. 1780–1850 The next period is from the last two decades of the Qianlong reign Fig. 72. Emerald-green glass, the base inscribed in relief seal script, Guyue Xuan [Ancient Moon Pavilion], 1766–1790. Bloch Collection. into the mid-nineteenth century. Our main problem with the mid- Qing period is that we have no reliable information whatsoever about the extent and quality of private glass production following Imperial style. There must have been such production, and we may assume that it was Fig. 71. Double overlay in pink and green on a milky-white ground, 1750–1850. J & J Collection.