An Overview of Qing Glass

20 Fig. 14. Painting from the series “ Yongzheng Emperor ’ s Concubines. ” Imperial Collection, Beijing. early, and might, again, just qualify, although they may be as late as the 1750s. 1715–1750 Once we extend our dating range somewhat to allow for a period stretching from the late Kangxi to the early Qianlong, say from 1715–1750, we have much more to choose from, the Imperial records to guide us, some reign-marked pieces and, for the snuff-bottle enthusiast, one other exciting piece of evidence ( fig. 14 ). In the Imperial Collection in Beijing there is a magnificent set of twelve paintings of the Yongzheng Emperor ’ s concubines. 14 Depicting interior settings, the paintings are replete with works of art painted in an unusually realistic manner. In one, a lady sits reading a book with what can only be a ruby-red glass snuff bottle at her elbow ( fig. 14 ), complete with a gilt-bronze stopper of typically Palace style—a type we know, from the records, was fitted with such stoppers. 15 It is of rounded rectangular form with a simple raised panel on each of the four sides. I can find no red glass bottle of precisely this shape, but a very similar ruby glass bottle in conception exists which appears to be early and is probably from this sort of period ( fig. 15 ). It also has a simple raised panel on each main side. As we have seen, ruby-red Fig. 15. Ruby red glass bottle with a circular raised flat panel on each side, 1720–1770. Bloch Collection. Fig. 16. Ruby-red faceted glass bottle, the base marked in regular script Yongzheng nianzhi [Made during the Yongzheng period], 1723–1735. Bloch Collection.

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