- Cinnabar, hongmu wood stand
the circular cover carved in high relief with a lakeside scene of nine boys fishing, paddling, and exchanging lotus, the landscape with rich vegetation and gnarled rocks, all encircled by bands of keyfret and lotus lappets, the sides of the box and cover each with four quatrelobed cartouches containing blossoming and fruiting plants, one of the 'Eight Auspicious Emblems' between each cartouche, all reserved against diaper grounds, keyfret bands at the rims and foot, the interiors and base lacquered black, wood stand (3)
John Sparks Ltd., London.
The lacquer arts flourished in the Qianlong period, with carved cinnabar boxes representing one of the principal categories. Like the present example, many of these boxes feature felicitous scenes of scholars or children enjoying leisure activities. The virtuosity of the artisan's skill can be seen in the compositional complexity, the variety of depths and angles at which leaves and petals emerge, the naturalistic roundness of the figures and the sway of their clothes, and the fineness and variety of the diaper patterns covering the ground.
A box of this type, but slightly larger and depicting a 'flower presentation' scene, from the Qing court collection, now in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Li Jiufang, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty, vol. 46, Hong Kong, 2006, pl. 37. A similar box, larger still and illustrating an Immortal accompanied by attendants in a mountainous landscape, sold at Christie's London, 10th November 2015, lot 172. A related Qianlong mark and period box of hexagonal lobed form sold in our London rooms, 25th November 2015, lot 228.