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Paperweights website... enjoy! :)

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Les Knee/Anne

Forget the snobbery...just another facet of the "label" credibilty hawked around by cretins. And as for "made in China" would be very unwise to dismiss such items with this appendage if the only critical instrument is quality. China is now very fast moving, which to a certain extent brings to mind the observation of Nostradamus regarding the invasion from the East. I have a couple of pieces of glass made in China and the only question in my head is how long can they produce glass of this quality for peanuts..... apart from which, as has been mentioned before ,  nigh on all makers from all countries have contributed to the crap pile. Selectivity will ultimately justify the purchase based on quality and quality is relative in terms of individual preference. To some extent you have to feel sorry for the "snobs" as they have to pay such inflated prices for such small-mindedness.




Anne gave us a link to
--- Quote ---... an interesting article on why China has no history of glassmaking, written by Alan Macfarlane of King's College, Cambridge in 2002, ...
--- End quote ---

Frank said of the article,
--- Quote ---I am surprised that a supposedly academic essay should be so full of crap!
--- End quote ---
but also went on say,
--- Quote ---Unfortunately the historians concentrated on classic periods of chinese decorative arts
--- End quote ---

I think we should note that the "article" is actually one of many draft texts which were produced before The Glass Bathyscaphe: How Glass Changed The World (Alan Macfarlane and Gerry Martin) was produced. To see the full context of the drafts go to:

Anyway, from my reading of the text it really covers only the history prior to the 18th century (which is more or less what Frank has pointed out). On analysis of the text, I find that 51% is direct quotes from various authors, 30% is what I would call "expansions" on other authors' references and the other 19% seems to be mostly summaries of what the other authors have covered.

So, on that basis, I would interested to know, Frank, which parts you consider to be, "crap".

Yes, the cameo carving of Chinese "Peking Glass" and the Snuff Bottles are of really good quality, but these are from the 18th century (and later) and they definitely reflect hitorically traditonal Chinese products, except that they were formed in glass.

Ahah, well done Kevin for a good analysis. I read it as is and in a hurry, it just seemed to be 'diconnected' and your analysis clarifies why. The 'crap' was an emotional reaction to an article appearing to describe Chines glass, full stop.

Snuff bottles have been made continuously.

On the "snobbery" point, I agree with the general views that Gareth has offered. But ... It's a fact that in paperweight collecting (and, I assume, in any other collecting arena) an element of "snobbery" has developed and could be considered as still apparent amongst some collectors, dealers, auction house staff and so forth.

I have also been guilty of dismissing weights such as Chinese gift products as unworthy of more than a cursory glance (which I choose to define as "snobbery"). Yet, at the time of looking I would have said I was making a reasonable judgement of whether the weight(s) would "sit well" in my collection. However, when I think about it a bit deeper, if an item has a dealer price tag of say, £200 rather than £20 (not to mention £10 or less), which piece do I study more closely? Is that an act of "snobbery" or of "intrigue". If I then buy the £200 item and display it with pride, after having dismissed the £20 one as 'not for me', is that also an act of "snobbery" or is it just "personal preference"?


Getting back to the specifics of possible snobbery about Chinese weights, the history of this is rooted in the first days of paperweights becoming recognised as "collectable". It is thought that in the 1930s an American dealer / importer arranged for "copies" of 19th century French weights to be made in order to meet a demand. The "copies" were made in China and although many were quite good replicas the quality was not the same and the clear glass tended to be tinted. Those who could afford to do so would, of course, buy the genuine French weights and those without such deep pockets would settle for none or a "second best" copy made in China.

But at some point these "copies" stopped being made and there was little, if anything, in the way of Chinese paperweights until more recently (I don't know when the Chinese gift weights trade actually started). And then, at some point, the original 1930s "copies" began to regarded as collectable in their own right. Perhaps this also created a division of "collectability" between those 1930s Chinese weights and the more recent ones?

As has been said often, modern Chinese output is of varying quality but some very well made pieces are now being seen more often and that includes paperweights. But it is still a basic fact that so many poorly produced gift weights continue to flood the market. And yes, many people probably still have the idea that all Chinese weights are "inferior" to those that "should be collected".

Now't so queer as folk  :!:

By the way,
a) I do have some examples of Chinese weights. Not many, though!
b) To see a good range of Chinese weights, (in the UK) take a trip to the Yelverton Paperweight Centre in Devon ( ). They certainly used to have on show an impressive number of Chinese weights, and many of much better quality than is usually found in the likes of eBay.


--- Quote from: "KevH" --- If I then buy the £200 item and display it with pride, after having dismissed the £20 one as 'not for me', is that also an act of "snobbery" or is it just "personal preference"?
--- End quote ---

Hi Kev

I feel that if you have made a considered judgement based purely on the merits of the piece as an individual item, irrespective of pedigree, and then subsequently dismissed it as not for you then I take that as personal preference.  To dismiss it simply, and for no other reason, because it originates from China is in my opinion quite illogical with or without the impediment of snobbery. I realise that it is possibly fairly common for the more "discerning" collector to base their collection in part on the desirability viz a viz rarity/cost but personally I'm just as keen on irises as I am orchids.... I have no issues at all with dismissal...just sometimes the reasons for such.
Interestingly I noted the PY paperweight that Frank nearly bought on Ebay.... a salamander I think.... went for 810 dollars or so...... probably be put to the stake for this but quite honestly I see no difference in the quality/desirability of this compared to a Chinese version . Take away the label and the py cane and perhaps you could tell me just what the merits are of this over the Far Eastern variety plus of course the additional 800 dollars. Or the other, and possibly more salient, question regarding this particular weight is how closely would I have to look to appreciate having spent that amount of money.......What would you consider a fair price for this weight would be if it had been made say by Murano or John Deacon.....I'm guessing nowhere near the 800 dollar mark. As a desirable object I would not have bought it all....but thats where we came in with personal preference.
Again as a point of comparison there is also a fair quantity of poor quality weight coming out of Eastern Europe and Italy....and the latter more so than the others do not appear to suffer this roughshod appraisal.
To end this I had to ask myself wether or not I was affected by attribution/pedigree/history etc.... and therefore how "rose tinted" my specs could be..... and the honest answer is that in certain circumstances I would have to say yes. Would I feel as for example as a"attracted" to my pair of Monart vases if they were not Monart..... I somehow, and with a tad embarrasment,  think not.... but a large part of me thinks that is rather stupid...... So there you are....I even end up disagreeing with myself...!!!!





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