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    Sale 2621

    Important Chinese Lacquer Wares from the Lee Family Collection

    3 December 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 2121

    A FINELY CARVED MING CINNABAR LACQUER RECTANGULAR TRAY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A FINELY CARVED MING CINNABAR LACQUER RECTANGULAR TRAY
    CHENGHUA PERIOD (1465-1487)

    The interior central panel is deeply carved with a pair of confronted archaistic dragons, their bodies coiled in-between three lingzhi fungus scroll, against a floral-diaper background, within a grooved border, each of the longer sides with a cartouche enclosing a pair of Buddhistic lions, grasped in their mouths long ribbons attached to a brocade ball at the centre, each of the shorter sides similarly carved with a rabbit, jumping on a rockwork ground detailed with wutong, all reserved on a twelve-pointed rosette diaper-ground, the reverse sides with a composite floral scroll, supported on a waisted foot
    15 1/8 in. (38.4 cm.) long, box


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    The depiction of Buddhistic lions and their cubs were popular motifs on ceramics as early as the Xuande period. However, on lacquerware these motifs probably did not appear until slightly later in the 15th century. Compare with a circular box depicting a pair of Buddhist lions and their cub playing with a beribboned brocade ball in the Beijing Palace Museum, illustrated in Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, The Complete Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2006, p. 110, no. 80 (fig. 1). Despite the Xuande mark on the Palace Museum box, the mark is regarded as spurious and the box is dated to the mid-Ming period.

    A point of note is the use in the combination of Buddhistic lions and the zabao, 'miscellaneous treasures' motifs which are similar to those painted on blue and white ceramics of the Chenghua period. Compare with a large blue and white dish decorated with a pair of Buddhistic lions, each grasping a long ribbon in their mouths that is attached to a brocade ball at the centre, excavated from the Chenghua stratum and dated to the mid-Chenghua period, illustrated in A Legacy of Chenghua, Hong Kong, 1993, p. 141, B26.

    Exhibited

    The Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, 1990, Dragon and Phoenix, Chinese Lacquer Ware, The Lee Family collection, Catalogue, 50
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990/91
    The Shoto Museum of Art, Shibuya, Japan, 1991, Chinese Lacquerware, Catalogue, no. 58
    The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1993, 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, Catalogue, no. 53