Fig. 20. Four meral bottles. retirement home had just been finished and a whole range of wares bearing the hall mark sud– denly made its first appearance. There must be a connection and the task now is to resolve the anomalies raised by having two sources for the hall name rather than the none we had not long ago. But that is very considerable progress and if the cost turns out to be a bruised ego it is well worth it. Also, bear in mind that the truly esoteric collector does not have an ego that bruises. The path in any esoteric pursuit leads eventually beyond the ego, rendering it be– yond harm. Oh, and while I am sounding like President Clinton I should mention Ulat when I read about the discovery of the Guyue Xuan 1 T didn't inhale . .. well, not too sharply anyway. As a last look at examples) let me suggest one possible paUl for the budget-conscious collectors among us. These four bottles are thought to be of Mongolian style (fig. 20). This style was revived in the 1950s WiUl fairly large production and it has become confused with the old bot– ues to the point where today no– body even looks at the old ones. The two on the left of this picture were in a major New York auction last year and sold for a few hun– dred dollars. I was the only bidder on one, and there were no bidders on the second, just the auctioneer and Ule chandelier; j bought it after the auction. To most people they were modern and of no interest whatsoever. Now, admittedly they do not look like literati botues and are not necessarily immediately at– tractive, but there is considerable scope to look more deeply and find hidden depths. I will take you along the paUl only a very short distance. Here is one of the 111asterpieces of the group (fig. 21). It is ex– tremely rare, being a transparent brown glass bottle cased in silver and gold with some transparent blue enamel detailing. Again, it would probably be dis1T\issed as modern but for another rare excep– tion also of cased brown glass and but for the fact that ule modern ones are not enameled at alL The other one was in the William Bragge collection and exhibited and catalogued in 1878 6 He ap– pears to have been a collector of the mid nineteenth centuty who had completed his collection by the time of his exhibition. 7 In his cata– logue we find ule following: [221J Glass bottle, circular; cased in silver, richly chased, and perforated; dragons in medallions; lion handles; stopper set with malachite and coral. Marked. It is clearly not the same bottle, as it is listed as marked, whereas this one has no mark at all, but it is obviously of the same group, prov- 15 Fig. 21. Metal and glass bottle, ing that this type was already in a European coLlection by the 1870s. Here is another link which sug– gests that the encased glass bottle is probably Qianlong and may be Im– perial. It is a Tibetan-style wooden bowl made for the personal use of the Qianlong Emperor with his own poem on it (fig. 22). It is dated to 1766 and apart from having simi– lar metalwork and stone inlays, it also has the same c1istinctjve trans– parent enameling of exacuy the same blue colaI'. Obviously this sort of metalwork was favored by the Emperor for certain wares, since it is found on other religious objects related to Tibet and stiLl in the Im– perial CoLlection. The dragons on this bottle (fig. 23) are aLl archaistic kui dragons, so counting the claws won't help in identifying its Imperial nature, but the mask handles are typical of Qianlong Court style. On the previ– ous two bottles the dragons have four claws, but assuming this group to have been made between say, 1760 and the early 1800s, even four-clawed dragons were pro– scribed, being granted as an honor to those who had served the Em– peror weLl and to the ennobled who were not members of the Im– perial family itself. Many Daoguang porcelain bottles, for instance, are Imperial but with four-clawed drag– ons, made as gifts to the ennobled from ule COUIt. This raises the pos– Sibility that many of these bottles were made by the COUit as gifts to