37
37
A Carved Cinnabar Circular 'Four Favourites' Lacquer Box and Cover
Incised Mark and Period of Yongle
Estimate
3,500,0004,500,000
LOT SOLD. 3,160,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
37
A Carved Cinnabar Circular 'Four Favourites' Lacquer Box and Cover
Incised Mark and Period of Yongle
Estimate
3,500,0004,500,000
LOT SOLD. 3,160,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Baoyizhai Collection of Chinese Lacquer, Part 1

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Hong Kong

A Carved Cinnabar Circular 'Four Favourites' Lacquer Box and Cover
Incised Mark and Period of Yongle
the flat circular cover crisply carved through deep layers of cinnabar lacquer with a scene of the 'Four Favourites' depicting the Song philosopher Zhou Dunyi seated on the terrace of an opulent pavilion by the edge of a lake, fanning himself looking at a lotus pond and a crane while two servants in the kitchen prepare a meal, the scene surrounded by various trees, shrubs and rocks beneath a tall gnarled pine tree and swaying sprays of bamboo, against various diaper patterns for the terrace, water and air, all below cloud scrolls at the rim, the sides decorated with composite flower-heads including lotus, camellia, magnolia, hibiscus, chrysanthemum and peony, all wreathed in their lush foliage contained within two thick plain borders, the box, the box similarly carved with matching flower scrolls, the interior and the base lacquered in brownish-black, the latter inscribed with a six-character needle-incised vertical reign mark on the left side
26.5 cm., 10 1/2  in.
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Exhibited

2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer. Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong and the Art Gallery, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1993, cat. no. 40.
Layered Beauty: The Baoyizhai Collection of Chinese Lacquer, Art Museum, Institute of Chinese Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2010, cat. no. 37.

Catalogue Note

This magnificent lacquer box is impressive for its deep carving, large size and well preserved condition, making it a rare example amongst lacquer wares of the Yongle period. A box of this shape but smaller in size, from the collection of Florence and Herbert Irving and now on loan in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is published in James C.Y. Watt and Barbara Brennan Ford, East Asian Lacquer, New York, 1991, pl. 27. The Irving box is carved in a very similar fashion but with a different figural scene and with a dense floral scroll decoration around the rim. Other comparable boxes may be found in museums and private collections, all decorated with different scenes of scholars in garden settings, surrounded by pavilions and trees with a lake in the background and with flower scrolls around the sides. They all bear a Yongle reign mark as seen here. Compare further related examples in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures from the Palace Museum. Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, Hong Kong, 2006, cat. nos. 37-41. Another related box was sold in our London rooms, 13th December 1988, lot 36; one from the collection of Edward T. Chow, was sold in these rooms, 3rd May 1994, lot 279; and a further piece was also sold, more recently, in these rooms, 29th October 2001, lot 666. 

Further boxes belonging to this special group may be found in Japan, such as one included in the Tokyo National Museum exhibition Chinese Arts of the Ming and Ching Periods, Tokyo, 1977, cat. no. 499, together with two from the Nezu Art Museum, cat. nos. 497-8.

Boxes of this type may also be found with incised Yongle marks beneath a carved Xuande mark. Lee Yu-Kuan in Oriental Lacquer Art, New York, 1972, pp. 40-41, suggests that the group of Yongle wares with Xuande marks can be dated to the short period when finished lacquer was still in the workshops but had not yet been presented to the Yongle emperor before his sudden death in 1424. The Yongle marks were then changed to Xuande for presentation to the new Xuande emperor in the early months of his reign, but still using the Yongle position of the mark down the left hand side rather than the inscription down the centre or across the top adopted for Xuande wares. For example, see three of these boxes in the Palace Museum included op.cit., pls. 47-49; and another sold in these rooms, 11th April 2008, lot 2947.

The Baoyizhai Collection of Chinese Lacquer, Part 1

|
Hong Kong