Pick up thine glass and follow me

Today we have a sermon in glass.

(I know that -- like me - you just can't get enough Chinese snuff bottles).

Perhaps on account of its fragility, or perhaps because it is made from ordinary sand, glass has had a hard time trying to be recognized as a proper collectible art form -- as much east as west. Glass-makers east and west sought a solution for the problem in exhibitionist displays of dazzling technique: Venetians bent it in all sorts of ways; the Chinese solution has been to use glass to imitate other materials.

For example Jasper:

OK, now for a different color-glass technique. This is described as "peach swirl" and imitates - rather well - certain kinds of marble.

Finally, two examples of the most common use of glass in China: carved glass overlay. In this technique one makes an object in one color -- for instance opaque white (to imitate jade) -- then gathers fresh color glass on top; and when it sets, carves it. The result is cameo-like.

In the two bottles below, the glass-maker gathered more than once/one color. I rather like the decorative idea of the second one: carp (in red) hiding behind some plant-matter (in green).

(I once met an elephant calf in the forest which tried to hide the same way: like small kids sometimes do, he hid his head and assumed that doing so rendered the rest of the mountain of him invisible).

And if you still have not had enough snuff bottles, Bonham's has some really superb works here; but don't delay, who knows how long this site will be up.


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