Lot 288
  • 288


80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Height 94 5/8  in., 240.5 cm; Width of each panel 20 in., 50.8 cm 
the rectangular panels forming a continuous composition, the front with carved polychrome decoration depicting a joyous gathering of the Daoist pantheon within the fantastic setting of the Turquoise Pond, Yaochi, on the paradisiacal Mount Kunlun, the rolling waves of the pond shown cresting as the numerous immortals ascend on their way towards a rocky grotto and the God of Longevity, Shou Lao sitting in anticipation of the celebratory event, as Xiwangmu, the Queen Mother of the West and her jade maidens approach from the upper left along with a host of celestial female musicians, the scene enclosed by a band of alternating wanzi-filled lozenges and roundels with cranes or shou characters, a four-clawed dragon pursuing a 'flaming pearl' at each end of the screen, a border of flowers above and a border of mythical beasts below, the reverse painted with gilt inscriptions honoring the birthday of a high official named Wang, surrounded by a red and gilt keyfret band, a wide border painted with the 'Hundred Antiques', and an outer border of scrolling lotus in gilt polychrome, all against a black lacquer ground, a red-lacquer scrolling apron between the feet


Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA.

Catalogue Note

The term ‘Coromandel’ refers to the name given to the south eastern Indian coast (today forming part of the present-day states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu), where Europeans established trading posts in the late 16th and 17th centuries, and Chinese junks docked to transfer lacquerwares to European vessels. The technique refers to a type of lacquer known as ke hui (literally ‘incised ash’), consisting of a smooth surface in which designs were carved out and colored with oil or lacquer pigments. They are believed to have been principally manufactured in Fujian province south of Shanghai to serve the domestic market and were aimed at affluent merchants and civil servants, who aspired to the inlaid lacquer screens produced in the imperial workshops.  Most screens of the period feature twelve rather than ten panels, however, the dated inscription on the present screen indicates it was privately commissioned on the occasion of a significant birthday. An example of a twelve panel screen dated to 1693 sold in our London rooms, 8th November 2017, lot 38 and another also depicting a 'Daoist Pantheon' dated to 1700 also in our London rooms, 15th May 2013, lot 342.