Japanese and Chinese antiques and art from B & C
Ruby Red Overlay Chinese Peking Glass Brush Washer

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Glass: Pre 1920: item # 989195

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B & C   Antiques
P. O. Box 291
Derby, CT 06418

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Ruby Red Overlay Chinese Peking Glass Brush Washer

Transparent Chinese glass brush washer in globular form decorated with clear red glass overlay carved in relief to reveal the eight trigrams of the I Ching and the symbol for yin and yang. We believe it dates to the late 19th/early 20th century, Qing dynasty to early Republic. The red overlay glass on the base is encircled by lappets, and the same red lappet design surrounds the mouth. The sides are overlaid with red carved relief roundels, two of which represent the yin and yang symbol and two which contain the eight trigrams.

Chinese Peking glass is a traditional art form that starts with a one-color glass base, dipped into contrasting colored glass one layer at a time. The artist then carves away portions of the overlaid glass to reveal layers of other colors underneath, following certain designs. It is a lengthy and tedious process that is time consuming and labor intensive. However, the result is exquisite and exotic, unlike carved glass from other countries and regions.

The “I Ching” or “Book of Changes” is a book of divination which is believed to be one of the very oldest of Chinese texts. It has been used by the Chinese for some three thousand years in order to predict the future and has in recent years also enjoyed widespread popularity in the West. In the I Ching two three-line trigrams are combined to make a hexagram. There are eight trigrams, each named for a specific attribute, and sixty-four hexagrams. The solid line represents yang, the masculine, creative principle. The open line represents yin, the feminine, receptive principle. These principles are also represented in a common circular symbol known in the West as the yin-yang diagram. The shape of the yin and yang sections of the symbol provides a sense of the continual movement of these two energies, yin to yang and yang to yin, causing everything in life to happen.

A Chinese scholar’s desk would have been incomplete without a brush washer. The yin and yang design on this example has a symbolic decoration that would have been prized by the literati. It is uncommon to find this indispensable scholar’s item made of Peking glass.

CONDITION is excellent.

DIMENSIONS: 3” (7.6 cm) diameter, 2 ¼” (5.8 cm) high.

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