• Important Chinese Lacquer from auction at Christies

    Sale 2730

    Important Chinese Lacquer from the Lee Family Collection

    1 December 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1811


    Price Realised  


    YUAN DYNASTY (1279-1368)

    The interior carved with a sampan anchored beside a willow tree issuing from a rockwork bank, at one end of the boat a seated figure is depicted with his feet dangling into the water, the water-diaper is represented by finely incised sinuous S-shaped curves and humped waves, framed by a band of composite floral scroll, the mouth rim with eight-pointed rosettes, the exterior with a band of classic scroll, the base lacquered black
    9 1/2 cm. (24.1 cm.) wide, box

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    The very distinctive 'heaped wave', S-shaped water-diaper and air-diaper are characteristics of Yuan lacquer carving and can also be seen on a six-lobed dish included in the Chinese University of Hong Kong exhibition, 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong and the Art Gallery, 1993, Catalogue, no. 36.

    Further characteristics that this dish shares with other published examples of Yuan lobed cinnabar lacquer dishes of this small size are the narrow border of eight-point rosettes around the rim, the composite flower scroll around the cavetto and the xiangcao scroll on the underside. Compare with three related dishes which share these features, all of which are incised with a Zhang Cheng mark to the base; the first illustrated by Hu Shih-Chang, Chinese Lacquer, National Museums of Scottland, 1998, no. 11; the second, a five-lobed dish illustrated by Lee Yu-Kuan, Oriental Lacquer Art, Tokyo, 1972, fig. 101; and another bracket lobed dish sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 May 2005, lot 771.

    A hexafoil dish, bearing a Yongle six-character mark, depicting a literary scene with the scholar Zhou Mao Shu seated within a pavilion looking out at a lotus pond, is included in the Hong Kong O.C.S. Exhibition catalogue 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, 1993, no. 41, where the transition to the different style of carving of the early Ming period can clearly be seen. The xiangcao scroll on the back of the dish has been replaced by a composite floral scroll repeating the design on the cavetto, featuring much more identifiable flowers than on the earlier Yuan examples: camellia, lotus and peony; the rosette border around the rim has become much more elaborate; and the carving to the central panel is much more rounded and fluid than on the bolder Yuan examples.


    The Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, 1990, Dragon and Phoenix, Chinese Lacquer Ware, The Lee Family Collection, Catalogue, no. 34
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990/91
    The Shoto Museum of Art, Shibuya, Japan, 1991, Chinese Lacquerware, Catalogue, no. 40
    Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong , 1993, 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, Catalogue, no. 37