Vase with Carved Image of Phoenix in a Landscape
Qing dynasty (1644-1912)
yellow glass with carved design
9.5 x 4.5 inches diam.
Since the Western Zhou dynasty (c. 1050-771 B.C.E.) the color yellow has been associated with the imperial family. It stands to reason that yellow glass, when it began to be used, would be designated for the emperor’s family and called Imperial glass. This Imperial glass vase with its phoenix design was most likely created for the empress, since the phoenix is her symbol. Although glass production was known to the Chinese since the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.) and glassware was manufactured in limited quantities, it wasn’t until the Qing dynasty that an imperial workshop was established by Emperor Kangxi (1661-1722) in the Forbidden City. Manufacture was supervised by Westerners, but the product reflected Chinese ideals in terms of shape, color, and surface decoration. Some of the finest decorations were executed by lapidaries (expert cutters of precious stones) whose skill is evidenced in works made not only of glass but of jade, quartz, amethyst, and a wide variety of other precious stones.
Eberhard, pp. 234-235, 322
Rawson, pp. 191-193