Late 18th to early 19th century
Height: 3 3/8 in (8.6 cm)
Diameter: 8 in (20.3 cm)
A large seven-lobed bowl of white glass with a transparent red overlay, each lobe carved with a different floral pattern, including magpies, ribbon-tailed birds and butterflies amidst chrysanthemums, peonies, plums, and quatrefoils.
The seven lobes and the decoration may refer to the Seventh Day of the Seventh Lunar Month Festival, when unmarried women pray for a successful future union. Each lob is decorated with a different association of a flying creature along with a plant. For example, a magpie and chrysanthemums forms the pun “May the entire family be happy”, and a magpie perched on top of a plum tree means “May your joy reach up to the top of your eyebrows”, while a ribbon-tailed bird and plum is a wish of longevity for newly wed. For further reading on these symbols and the festival, see Bartholomew (2006), 2.17.5, 2.17.8, 7.51.4 and page 285.
Provenance: acquired in Honolulu in the late 1960’s
Published: Asiantiques, Chinese Qing Dynasty Glass Treasures: A Selection from the Gadient Collection (2009), cat. no. 36
(Hard cover catalogue, 64 glass artworks, 64 pp, full color illustrations, English text and Chinese captions. Catalogue available for purchase, $45 including domestic shipping, $55 international. The catalogue can also be viewed online in pdf format. Please contact us or visit our "exhibitions" page for more information.)