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    Sale 2621

    Important Chinese Lacquer Wares from the Lee Family Collection

    3 December 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 2111

    A VERY RARE AND FINELY CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER CIRCULAR DISH

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A VERY RARE AND FINELY CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER CIRCULAR DISH
    YUAN DYNASTY (1279-1368)

    The interior is deeply carved to a buff ground with two birds in flight, their long tails elegantly trailing behind, the feathers finely detailed with incised design, amidst a dense background of flowering peonies, the exterior with a band of classic scroll, the base lacquered black with a later added six-character Wanli reign mark
    12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm.) diam., Japanese wood box


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    The present dish belongs to a distinct group of carved lacquer pieces known as "two-bird" dishes. Although the species of birds and flowers vary from dish to dish, they are almost invariably decorated with the same compositional layout of a pair of birds in flight against a floral background on the interior, and the reverse side with a classic scroll or 'fragrant scroll', Xiangcao. The rendition of the long flowing tails are very similar to those of crested birds on a dish in the Beijing Palace Museum collection (fig. 1), illustrated in Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 2006, p. 13, no. 7. The Beijing Palace Museum dish is dated to the Yuan period despite its Xuande six-character mark which was added in the Qing dynasty, loc. cit..

    A red lacquer dish of this size and decorative theme dated to the 14th century, decorated with two peacocks against a ground of tree peonies, is in the British Museum, illustrated by H. Garner, Chinese Lacquer, Faber and Faber, 1979, no. 45. Two black lacquer dishes also dated to the 14th century are illustrated, ibid., no. 43, in the Honolulu Academy of Arts designed with two pheasants against a hibiscus ground; and the other in the British Museum, no. 44, with two water-fowl amidst lotus and other water-plants.

    Exhibited

    Tokyo National Museum, Japan, 1977, Oriental Lacquer Arts, Catalogue, no. 452
    The Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, 1990, Dragon and Phoenix, Chinese Lacquer Ware, The Lee Family Collection, Catalogue, no. 33
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990/91
    The Shoto Museum of Art, Shibuya, Japan, 1991, Chinese Lacquerware, Catalogue, no. 39