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Crystal Sphere

Object Title:
Crystal Ball
Object Number:
C681A
Current Location:
China Gallery
Culture:
Chinese
Provenience:
China
Burma
Period:
Qing Dynasty
Date Made:
19th Century
Early Date:
1800
Late Date:
1899
Section:
Asian
Materials:
Quartz Crystal
Description:
Crystal sphere or ball. An ornamental treasure of the Imperial Palace in Beijing, this crystal sphere was said to have been a favorite possession of the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835 -1908 CE), under whose watch imperial China crumbled. The rock crystal originated in Burma and was shaped into a sphere through years of constant rotation in a semi-cylindrical container filled with emery, garnet powder, and water. The forty-nine pound flawless crystal sphere is believed to be the second largest in the world. The stand in the shape of a wave was designed by a Japanese artisan. Cutting probably begun in China and finished in Japan. Made for the Empress Dowager of China.
Height:
25.4cm
Width:
25.4cm
Credit Line:
Purchased from Wanamaker's Department Store; subscription of Eldridge R. Johnson

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Chinese Rotunda (1968)
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Chinese Halls (1941 - 1966)
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Bibliography:

[Article] Fernald, H. E. 1928. The George Byron Gordon Memorial Collection of Chinese Objects in Jade, Crystal, Lapis Lazuli and Coral. The Museum Journal. Volume XIX (No. 1): 35-71. : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 41
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