• Important Chinese Lacquer from auction at Christies

    Sale 2730

    Important Chinese Lacquer from the Lee Family Collection

    1 December 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1808


    Price Realised  


    SONG DYNASTY (960-1279)

    Carved through layers of red and black lacquer in the centre with a hexagonal flower head, surrounded by two registers of concentric ruyi -heads, the exterior with a further band of ruyi, the recessed base lacquered black
    6 1/8 in. (15.5 cm.) wide, box

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    A larger Yuan dynasty tray of similar pattern to the current example has been published by Hu Shih-chang in Chinese Lacquer, National Museums of Scotland Publishing, Edinburgh, 1998, p. 25, no. 5. The author refers to his research with Lee King-tsi published as 'On Chinese Tixi Lacquer', Orientations, September, 1993, pp. 65-8, and notes that the 'spectacle-shaped' patterns on the upper surface have narrow nose bridges, while those on the underside are truncated, and there are irregular cracks in the black lacquer base. These features, shared by the current tray, are all features of 13th/14th century lacquers. Compare also a dish of similar size and decoration to the Edinburgh dish sold at Christie's London, 7 November 2007, lot 55.

    While the Edinburgh dish has three rows of ruyi designs, the current vessel has two, and this feature is shared by another similarly-sized dish in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (illustrated by James C.Y. Watt and Barbara Brennan Ford in East Asian Lacquer - the Florence and Herbert Irving Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1991, p, 53, no. 8). However, the latter dish has black lacquer as its upper layer and a different design in the centre. On both the New York dish and the current example, it is possible in some areas to see the fabric which covers the wooden core of the vessel under the lacquer. Both the Edinburgh and New York dishes have been dated to the 14th century.


    The Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, 1990, Dragon and Phoenix, Chinese Lacquer Ware, The Lee Family Collection, Catalogue, no. 7
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990/91
    The Shoto Museum of Art, Shibuya, Japan, 1991, Chinese Lacquerware, Catalogue, no. 21