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    Sale 2389

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    27 November 2007, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1794

    A FINE AND RARE IMPERIAL CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER OCTAFOIL BOX AND COVER

    Price Realised  

    A FINE AND RARE IMPERIAL CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER OCTAFOIL BOX AND COVER
    QIANLONG PERIOD (1735-1795)

    The flat cover finely carved in medium relief through a layer of red lacquer to a black diaper ground with the 'Eight Precious Objects', babao, surrounding a medallion of three peaches among bats, linghzi fungus, prunus and fruit, the sides with panels of peony, prunus and chrysanthemum alternating with the babao, the shallow box raised on four shallow ruyi feet and carved around the sides with scrolling lotus, the interior contaning eight fitted petal-shaped dishes surrounding a ninth circular dish, each lacquered in gold on a
    black ground with peonies, lotus, pomegranates and gourds
    13½ in. (34.5 cm.) diam., box


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    This finely carved lacquer box and cover appears to be the only one of two examples of its type, and is in remarkably good condition. It is especially rare to find a complete set of gilt-decorated trays in the interior intact. An identical box of the same size and pattern, probably from the same workshop was sold at Christie's London, 15 May 2007, lot 113.

    Unlike the Eight Buddhist Emblems, bajixiang or the Seven Regal Symbols, qizhengbao, which always comprise the same set of objects, the Eight Precious Objects, babao, is a random selection of objects from a long list of auspicious symbols. Each of the eight babao symbols depicted on the present box represents one of the Eight Daoist Immortals, commonly known as the Eight Concealed Immortals, anbaxian, and is a set combination. The Eight Daoist Immortals are commonly associated with the Birthday celebration of Shoulao, therefore the depiction of these symbols on the present box expresses the wish for the recipient's longevity.

    A red qiangjin lacquer box of similar shape and decorated with lotus scrolls is illustrated in Empress Dowager Cixi - Her Art of Living, Hong Kong, 1996, p. 74. A black qiangjin lacquer box of the same form but decorated with butterflies in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Zhongguo qiqi quanji, vol. 6, Fuzhou, 1993, p. 20, no. 20. A mother-of-pearl inlaid black lacquer box, also of similar form, is decorated with the Eight Concealed Immortals both on the outside and on the trays in the interior believed to be Emperess Dowager Cixi's personal box, is illustrated in Women in the Forbidden City, Nishi-Nihon Shimbun, 1999, no. 118. A blue and white and yellow-enamelled moonflask in the National Palace Museum, is illustrated in Good Fortune, Long Life, Health and Peace: A Special Exhibition of Porcelains with Auspicious Designs, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1995, no. 40 p. 114-115.

    An identical box of the same size and pattern, probably from the same workshop was sold at Christie's London, 15 May, 2007, lot 113.