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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 203



    Price Realised  


    Of compressed form with flat lip and flat oval foot, the glass of varying reddish-orange, dark brown and black tones in mottled patterns in imitation of realgar, tourmaline stopper with silver collar
    2 26/64 in. (6.1 cm.) high

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    The only known usable snuff bottle in realgar is in the Shuisongshi Shanfang Collection, but glass copies of the material were a staple of the Imperial glassworks in Beijing from the Kangxi period onwards. In 1702, Wang Shizhen described red glass from the Imperial glassworks as "like fire." While this was originally assumed to be a reference to ruby-red glass, the existence of realgar-glass at the Court suggests that Wang's description may have meant this variegated combination of orange, yellow and red.

    Realgar-glass is assumed to have been developed at the Imperial glassworks during the Kangxi period, when production was under the directorship of Kilian Stumpf and his fellow Jesuits, who set up the glassworks for the Emperor in 1696. Moss, Graham and Tsang, in A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 703, refer to a set of ten realgar-glass cups in Denmark that were purchased in Guangzhou and brought back to Europe aboard the Kronprins Christian in 1732 (for the cups illustrated, see Ethnographic Objects in The Royal Danish Kunstkammer 1650-1800, Nationalmuseet, nos. Ebc 71-82, p. 218). Several pieces of realgar-glass were bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane to the British Museum in 1753 (see JICSBS, Summer 1998, p. 14, fig. 33; and R. Soame Jenyns, Chinese Art. The Minor Arts II, p. 145, no. 81). A realgar-glass waterpot with Yongzheng mark from the Imperial Collection, Beijing, is published by Yang Boda, "A Brief Account of Qing Dynasty Glass," in C. Brown and D. Rabiner, The Robert H. Clague Collection. Chinese Glass of the Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911, Phoenix Art Museum, 1987, p. 78. For another realgar-glass snuff bottle datable to 1696-1750, see Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 705.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.


    Potter's Gallery, Vancouver.