Museum Quality Art Glass for the Collector


Chinese paperweights. In every category of paperweights there are crummy, fair, good, and sometimes great, fabulous, or unparalleled individual weights. Admittedly, many Chinese weights are poor quality … but not all of them. In some instances, especially in the early 20th century, the problem was the quality of the glass while the artistic elements were often superior. In my opinion, a top quality paperweight collection can include a section for Chinese weights. Indeed, the collection at the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum includes Chinese paperweights. A collection of only Chinese weights could be amazing too. Some demean Chinese weights by calling them “mere copies,” but were not even the finest French Classical Period pieces at first copies of Venetian and Silesian works. The Chinese weights I most appreciate have an eastern flair to them that is difficult to describe – even the canes somehow evoke Chinese ideographic writing. Floral weights sometimes convey a sense of simplicity as perfection, as with seemingly simple calligraphy. Some of the most delicate and attractive crimp flowers ever made were made in China, yet they sell for a fraction of the cost of American made crimp flowers in most instances. A Chinese dragonfly weight sold for more than $1100 on eBay in October 2012 – a copy of a Baccarat. Another way to appreciate Chinese weights is to use them. You do not want all your paperweights locked away in a curio cabinet – you can actually use these as paperweights or decorations around the house where you may not want to leave an expensive Clichy. I have a 12-pound Chinese paperweight displayed proudly and centrally in my home and when the sun slants through it in the late afternoon, it is a thing of great beauty. Everybody can have a beautiful and interesting paperweight collection, regardless of one’s budget.  As with all of my paperweights, my Chinese paperweights are top quality – no junk, but expect some bubbles and debris and/or color in the glass in the older ones.


Note on Chinese Plum Blossoms weights. Let me be clear about this: I love these plum blossom weights. These are important Chinese weights. While most contemporary Chinese weights were copies of other cultures’ work, these sprang from the true spirit of ancient Chinese Art tradition. The early versions are typically two blossoms and four buds. Many varieties exist. We know that the first of this general style were made in the 1930s. I believe we can surmise that the general style continued to be made for some years onward. The early versions have glass that grayed substantially over time and often the glass is poor quality. It took me several years of careful searching to put together a sub-collection of these interesting and exotic paperweights.

PW811. Modern Chinese HUGE Lampwork Plus Crimp Magnum. This is an eye-catching beauty. I have a similar one on display in the entryway of my house and it attracts a lot of comments and interest. It includes one lovely crimp flower, two trumpet-shaped lily pads, and two cute frogs, one of which is in the process of jumping from his perch. The ground is translucent watery blue and includes some cane work. Condition is New/Excellent. 4 1/2 inch diameter; 3 1/4 inches tall; three pounds and six ounces – consider how big that is!  $80 SOLD


PW807. Chinese Trumpet Flower. Chinese glass artists made this general style of weight beginning in the 1930s, but this one is newer. The glass is more clear than the oldest Chinese weights. Nice shading from purple to violet. 2 9/16 inch diameter; 2 1/2 inches tall; fourteen ounces.  $35


PW2073. Very Large Magnum (two pounds and ten ounces!) Top Quality Chinese Museum Piece. If you are going to have just one modern Chinese paperweight in your collection, make it this one. It is bright and well made with many (try to count them) attractive carefully arranged canes. Condition is perfect, as if it just came off the shelf of the gallery. Chinese glass artisans began making millefiori weights in the 1930s. It is a practice they have continued. This is Chinese millefiori at its best. This piece came for the collection of a prominent New England paperweight collector. 4 1/8 inch diameter; 3 inches tall.  $100 SOLD


PW984. Chinese Crimp Rose. This Chinese crimp rose from the late 20th Century or maybe even newer. It’s a nicely made blossom with some delicate shading from orange to pale orange . Condition is excellent. 2 9/16 inch diameter; 2 3/8 inches tall; thirteen ounces.  $20


PW1375. Chinese Modern Millefiori. Ever since the 1930s, some unscrupulous Murano sellers have sold Chinese weights as their own (by the tens of thousands). They are sold complete with Made in Murano labels. Due to costs of labor, it is cheaper to import weights from China than to make them in Italy. This is a Chinese weight made for the Murano market. It is an attractive millefiori paperweight nonetheless. It has an engraved signature on the side near the base that I cannot decipher. Condition is excellent. 3 1/8 inch diameter; 2 3/8 inches tall; one pound and three ounces.  $25

PW153. China Millefiori Museum Piece, circa 1930s. This is one of the very early Chinese weighs, an apparent attempt to copy a Clichy. Although it’s unlikely to fool anyone into thinking it’s a Clichy, it’s a nice weight in its own right. You see a lot of this general type as they continued to make them for many years (even today, I think). But this is certainly one of the originals. Condition is excellent. 2 1/2 inch diameter; 1 1/4 inches tall; seven ounces.   SOLD

PW2191. Chinese Magnum Crimp Rose by Dynasty Gallery. This is a modern Chinese weight, probably 1970s -1980s.  It has the original label, “Dynasty Gallery, Heirloom Collectibles, For Collectors Around the World.” Having been a keen observer of Chinese weight for many years, it is my opinion Dynasty Gallery produced some of the finest weights from China for its time. They are far higher quality on average than most (although not all Dynasty weights are great.) This is a beautiful crimp rose. You can almost see the inner petals unfolding in the morning sun. Condition is excellent. The glass is clear, unlike the old Chinese weights. It’s a beautiful paperweight. 3 1/2 inch diameter; 3 5/8 inches tall; two pounds and two ounces.   $65

PW983. Chinese Crimp Flower. This is a fairly common type of Chinese crimp flower from the late 20th Century. Nothing fancy. Condition is excellent. 2 7/8 inch diameter; 2 5/8 inches tall; one pound and two ounces.  $16

PW2029. Chinese Flower in the style of Baccarat, circa 1930-50s. We know that the first of this general style were made in the 1930s and were designed after antique French and American paperweights. I believe we can surmise that the general style continued to be made for some years onward. Condition is excellent. 2 9/16 inch diameter; 1 9/16 inches tall; eight ounces.  $35

click for more