117
117
A CINNABAR LACQUER ‘STAR GODS’ BOX AND COVER
MING DYNASTY, 16TH CENTURY
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 85,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
117
A CINNABAR LACQUER ‘STAR GODS’ BOX AND COVER
MING DYNASTY, 16TH CENTURY
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 85,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Chinese Art

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London

A CINNABAR LACQUER ‘STAR GODS’ BOX AND COVER
MING DYNASTY, 16TH CENTURY
of octagonal form, the domed cover deftly carved in relief at the top with an octagonal panel enclosing the Three Star Gods riding on clouds and a crane in flight, with a peach tree issuing from overhanging rocks in the distance, all above a tiered pavilion sheltered amongst jagged mountains, the eight-facetted sides with shaped panels variously depicting boys at play in garden landscapes, the box similarly decorated with shaped panels enclosing floral branches including chrysanthemum, prunus and camellia, all above a band of wavy lappets, the rims encircled by demi peony flowers in quatrefoil cartouches, the flared foot similarly decorated with shaped panels enclosing chrysanthemum sprays, the interior and base lacquered black, box
Quantity: 3
27.3cm., 10 3/4 in.
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Provenance

Manhattan Storage Warehouse auction, 1942.
Collection of F. Bailey Vanderhoef, Jr., California.

Exhibited

Oriental Lacquer: An exhibition organised by guest curator F. Bailey Vanderhoef, Jr., Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, 1976, cat. no. 4.

Catalogue Note

Striking for its carved decoration rendered in varying levels of depth, this box is notable for its perfectly composed and executed auspicious design. Commonly fitted with a tray to hold cups used during banquets, lacquer boxes carved with Immortals were produced in large quantities in the 16th century. The Jiaqing and Wanli emperors were obsessed with the magical practices performed by Daoist adepts in their quest for attaining fertility and immortality, thus imbuing all forms of art with Daoist themes.

A closely related box in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is illustrated in Catalogue of Chinese Lacquer, London, 1925, pl. 46; and another was sold in our New York rooms, 2nd June 1976, lot 171. See also a box of this form, but the sides carved with immortals, sold at Christie’s New York, 19th September 2007, lot 117; and another of slightly smaller size decorated on the sides with birds and flowers, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, Shanghai, 2006, pl. 110.

Among the various auspicious motifs found on this box are the Three Daoist Star Gods, Yang Cheng, Zhang Xian and Shoulao, symbolic of happiness (fu), high rank and prosperity (lu), and longevity (shou), the crane (he) hovering over a pavilion, which grants the wish haiwu tianchou (May you live to a ripe old age), and a fruiting peach tree that represents immortality. The lively scene of boys playing, which symbolises the wish for many sons, further enhances the auspicious message of the design.

Important Chinese Art

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London