This bottle is one of a group, mostly of this color but sometimes in blue, nearly always carved with chi dragons on the narrow sides. They are distinguished by being carved from solid blocks of glass rather than being blown, hence the heavier weight, indicating that they were made to imitate hardstones, in this case beryl.
Following the massive influx of minerals from Xinjiang province after 1759, there was a great demand for the wide range of semi-precious stones mined in the region. However, the material that was large enough for a snuff bottle was always flawed, prompting imitations in glass which could be made to look like flawless stone. The eighteenth-century Court took pleasure in all things novel, which included the concept of teasing the eye by recreating more precious materials in glass. Because of the versatility of glass as a material and the multitude of colors that were easily produced, it was often used to simulate such material as jade, jadeite, colored hardstones, realgar and amber, among others.
Although chi dragons were the usual subject matter for this series of bottles, the present examples is unusual in that the dragons are linked by lingzhi sprigs. See M. Hughes, The Blair Bequest. Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Princeton University Art Museum, p. 111, no. 121, where a similar green glass bottle is illustrated; H. Moss, Snuff Bottles of China, pp. 114-5, no. 237; and Zhongguo Biyanhu Zhenshang, no. 48, for comparable examples. See also Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 836, for an example in amethyst-purple glass and a further discussion on this group of bottles. Another pear-shaped amethyst glass bottle from the Ko Family Collection was sold in our London rooms, 14 June 1971, lot 35. The courtly chi dragon, in addition to the style of carving, strongly suggests an Imperial attribution.