• Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works  auction at Christies

    Sale 2196

    Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    15 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 368

    A RARE PAIR OF IMPERIAL BAMBOO-VENEER TWO-TIER BOXES AND COVERS

    QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

    Price Realised  

    A RARE PAIR OF IMPERIAL BAMBOO-VENEER TWO-TIER BOXES AND COVERS
    QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)
    Each of ruyi shape, the cover finely carved in low relief with a formal foliate spray of a large lotus in the center of scrolling leafy tendrils bearing two further lotus flowers, within a border of conjoined leafy scrolls that outline the edge above a petal-lappet band on the shoulder, the sides of the cover, middle section and lower section, which is raised on a foot of conforming outline, carved with foliate sprays
    7¼ in. (18.5 cm.) across, wood box (2)


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    This superb pair of tiered boxes is executed in a technique known as zhuhuang (literally, 'bamboo yellow', but meaning bamboo veneer). The technique involved stripping the interior surface of the bamboo cortex, soaking it and pressing it flat, and then applying it as a veneer to the base material of the object. A second layer was then carved and superimposed over the first layer. It was a time-consuming technique that required extraordinary technical skill, but it nonetheless allowed for the production of works far beyond the range of shapes and sizes possible with the natural bamboo stem and root. Boxes of different shapes and sizes executed in this technique are in the Palace Museum, Beijing, and include the two-tiered quatrefoil box illustrated in The Palace Museum Collection of Elite Carvings, Beijing, 2002, p. 83, no. 51, and the two-tiered double-lozenge box in the Qing Court Collection illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 44 - Bamboo, Wood, Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Carvings, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 79, no. 72, which is decorated with a similar leafy lotus scroll. See, also, the small petal-lobed box illustrated by S. Kwan, Ming and Qing Bamboo, University Museum of Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong, 2000, p. 319, no. 86.

    Provenance

    Karl Kamb, Los Angeles.
    Louis Pappas Oriental Arts, San Francisco, 1961.
    John Yeon Collection, Portland, Oregon.