An Overview of Qing Glass

21 painterly, low relief style and a higher relief, usually multiple cameo overlay style. It has always been assumed that the painterly style gradually evolved to the higher relief style. It seems now that it was the other way around. When the school first started, the fashion at court was well established for either bold, high relief, single color, cameo overlay bottles or for fancy, multiple overlays. A new glassmaker would begin by creating what was in demand and fashionable at court and among influential patrons whose demand was inspired by court style. Only once the school began to evolve in its own right would it begin to develop a completely new style of glass carving. There is a group of superbly carved overlays decorated with silkworms, which are the early works of the Li School ( figs. 80 and 81 ), the first of which could almost be one of the magnificent multiple overlays of the 1770s and 1780s represented by figure 81 . In the Bloch volume on glass we propose that whoever founded the Li School may have worked at or for the court in the 1780s. There are other courtly links to some of the early wares of the school including two bottles in Imperial yellow, one in the Bloch Collection and one in the Franz Collection. These silkworm bottles then seem to lead to the standard, multiple overlays of the type where two are dated ( figs. 82 and 83 ), both to the same year, 1786. This reversal of the progression to allow the higher-relief bottles the earlier date allows for a much more logical picture of production. The Li School seems to have flourished in the first half of the nineteenth century when it would seem strange to be adding fake Qianlong marks to such masterpieces. Demand for fancy snuff bottles was still riding high at this time and the art form still evolving, so there was little need to produce masterly fakes. When Fig. 82. Double overlay of cinnabar-red and black on a white ground carved to illustrate two herdboys riding their water buffaloes amidst flying bats, dated 1786, Li Junting. Fig. 83. Double overlay of black and cinnabar-red on a turquoise ground carved to illustrate an Immortal in a log boat while another figure crouches in the prow and the sun above, dated 1786, Li Junting. Fig. 81. Double overlay of deep green and yellow on a pink ground carved to illustrate silkworms, a silk moth and cocoons amidst branches of a mulberry tree, Li Junting School. Fig. 80. Double overlay of white and emerald-green on a pink ground carved to illustrate silkworms, silk moths and cocoons on branches of a mulberry tree, Li Junting School. Bloch Collection