Snowflake Warrior Vase

Object Name: 
Snowflake Warrior Vase

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Object Name: 
Snowflake Warrior Vase
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 49.2 cm; Body Diam: 24 cm
On Display
about 1825-1875
Credit Line: 
Gift of Benjamin D. Bernstein
360 Image: 

Snowflake Warrior Vase

Web Description: 
霏雪地套红“八大锤”雕刻玻璃大瓶 The vase was made by blowing snowflake glass overlaid with a thick layer of copper red glass, into a bottle shape. Enormous time was spent on carving away the unnecessary part of the red glass to reveal the contrast inner layer of snowflake glass to achieve cameo patterns. The stories on the vase stem from the well-known “Eight Hammers” repertoire of the Beijing Opera. The story was drawn from the 55th and 56th chapters of a popular early Qing dynasty novel, Shuo Yue Quan Zhuan (The Complete Biography of General Yue), by Qian Cai. General Yue was an historical Chinese hero of the Song dynasty (960-1279), who fought against the neighboring Jin dynasty (1115-1234). The Opera consists of several scenes, two of which are represented on the Museum’s Snowflake Warrior Vase. The body of the vase depicts the scene “Fighting in turns” in which Lu Wenlong, a warrior for the Jin camp, fights four generals of the Yue camp. The generals took turns fighting Lu Wenlong, but Lu defeated them all. The warrior in the center is Lu Wenlong, identified by a pair of Chinese spears and two long pheasant tail feathers in his hat. The name Eight Hammers comes from the two huge hammers each of the four generals from General Yue’s camp carry. After the battle, Wang Zuo, a military counselor of General Yue, discovered that Lu Wenlong was not a part of the enemy Jin but was, in fact, the only son of a governor of the General Yue side. When Lu Wenlong was a baby, his true parents committed suicide after being defeated by a Jin leader, who took Lu back to his camp and adopted him. Once Wang Zuo discovered this, he cut off his left arm in a ruse to win the trust of the Jin camp. Having gained access to move freely in enemy’s camp Wang Zuo approached Lu and told him the truth about his life. When Lu learned his true identity, he returned to his original homeland of General Yue’s side. The Opera scene called “Wang Zuo’s broken arm” is not represented on the vase, but the following scene “Story telling by Wang Zuo,” is portrayed on the neck of the vase. The Wang Zuo is shown on the left side of a pavilion pointing at a painting which he used to reveal the truth to Lu Wenlong, who is on the far right of the scene.
Bernstein, Benjamin D. (1907-2003), Source
Primary Description: 
Snowflake Warrior Vase. Colorless cased with "snowflake" glass, with third layer of transparent red glass. mold-blown, cased with thick red glass, carved, wheel-engraved. Tall, thick vase. Cylindrical neck tapers slightly, with flat rim. Globular body. Applied base of red glass flares downward, with cutout circular hollow; outer edge of rim is roughly beveled. Cameo engraving: on body, horseman with two spears fights against four horsemen, each with two bulbous "hammers," in landscape with rocks, trees, and stylized flowers; on reverse, pine tree and rocky mountains. Flight of steps leads from battle scene on body to brick wall foundation with three-domed pavilion on neck, where four figures look and point at scroll painting. Scene on painting is wheel-engraved; it shows a decapitated man, with his severed head at his feet, and a bystander. Vase rests on teakwood stand in shape of lotus blossom, with seeds of central pod in detached carving.
Corning Museum of Glass
Changing Exhibitions Gallery
Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame: Later Chinese Glass
China House Gallery 1990-04-19 through 1990-06-17
Curated by Claudia Brown and Donald Robiner
Zhongguo gu dai bo li qi min = Chinese ancient glass (2018) illustrated, p. 286 (fig. 7-17);
La escultura en vidrio (2017) illustrated, p. 143 (fig. 3.43);
Chinese Glass snuff Bottles: Foreign Influences on an Indigenous Art Form (2015-03) illustrated, p. 7;
Chinese Glass Snuff Bottles: Foreign Influences on an Indigenous Art Form (2015) illustrated, p. 7 (fig. 11); BIB# 720305
Scenes of Glassblowing Workshops at Guangzhou & Boshan (2014) illustrated, p. 103; BIB# 140419
European Glassmaking Techniques in China: Kilian Stumpf's Probable Influence over Liuli (2013-03) illustrated, p. 13;
Escort Guide to the Galleries (2013) illustrated, p. 24; BIB# 134015
Escort Guide to the Galleries [V4/2013] (2013) illustrated, p. 24; BIB# 134856
Glass: A Short History (Smithsonian Books edition) (2012) illustrated, pp. 60-61; BIB# 130360
Glass: A Short History (The British Museum edition) (2012) illustrated, pp. 60-61; BIB# 135965
The illustrated encyclopedia of glass (2011) illustrated, p. 200; BIB# 128671
Warrior Vase (family) (2011)BIB# 131706
Glass, Knocking at the Door of Art (2010) illustrated, p. 33; BIB# 115616
Glass of the Alchemists: Lead Crystal-Gold Ruby, 1650-1750 (2008) illustrated, pp. 296-298, #115; BIB# 103865
Glass of the Alchemists: Lead Crystal - Gold Ruby, 1650-1750 (2008) illustrated, p. 6 (top left); BIB# AI101015
The Arts of China after 1620 (2007) p.176, Fig. 223; BIB# 87453
Eight Sledgehammers on Glass (2006) illustrated, pp. 94-96;
The Gather (2006) illustrated, back;
Layers of Wonder: Majestic and Marvelous Cameo Glass (2003-05) illustrated, inset between pp. 40-41;
Glass in Art, History, and Science at The Corning Museum of Glass (2003) illustrated, p. 69, no. 6; BIB# AI64198
The Encyclopedia of Glass (2001) illustrated, p. 165; BIB# 69319
Brave New Nanoworld (1999) p. 9;
All About Glass = Garasu Daihyakka (1993) p. 111; BIB# 36566
Treasures from The Corning Museum of Glass (1992) illustrated, p. 94, #88; BIB# 35679
The Survey of Glass in the World (1992) illustrated, p. 60-61 (no. 125); BIB# 44518
A Sparkling Celebration: The Corning Glass Center Shines Through Four Decades (1991) illustrated, p. 8 (inset), p. 21 (bottom right); BIB# 138761
Masterpieces of Glass: A World History From The Corning Museum of Glass (1990) illustrated, pp. 180-181, pl. 82; BIB# 33819
Clear as Crystal, Red as Flame: Later Chinese Glass (1990) illustrated, pp. 82-83 (#49); BIB# 33493
A Short History of Glass (1990 edition) (1990) illustrated, pp. 36-37, #29; BIB# 33211
Garasu Nyumon (Introduction to Glass) (1983) illustrated, p. 114; BIB# 32417
2,000 Years of Cameo Glass at The Corning Museum (1982-07) illustrated, p. 56; BIB# AI9264
Cameo Glass: Masterpieces from 2000 Years of Glassmaking (1982) illustrated, pp. 40, 108, #34; BIB# 30609
Story of Glass Coloring Book (1981) illustrated, p. 35, middle; front cover, left; BIB# 67749
Le Nouveau Musee du verre a Corning (1980) illustrated, pp. 52-59, #12;
A Short History of Glass (1980 edition) (1980) illustrated, p. 34, #28; BIB# 21161
Glass (1966) illustrated, frontispiece; BIB# 119578