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    Sale 2711

    The Imperial Sale, Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    27 May 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1815

    A VERY RARE PAIR OF IMPERIAL CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER 'DRAGON' ARMCHAIRS

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A VERY RARE PAIR OF IMPERIAL CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER 'DRAGON' ARMCHAIRS
    QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

    Each chair elaborately carved through layers of cinnabar lacquer in relief against the dark green keyfret ground, the central back splat curved into a cylindrical scrolled crested rail, decorated with a majestic dragon amongst clouds and waves holding a shou roundel above its head within lotus scroll borders, the dragon motif repeated on the reverse of the back panel and the seat board, the back side panels and the armrests in the form of elongated and formalised kui dragons, all carved with lotus scrolls; the seat frame edges, aprons, rectangular hoof-feet legs and stretchers carved with bats amidst clouds, the spandrels under the seat frame in keyfret pattern, and the foot rest covered in brass plates engraved with lotus scrolls
    36 3/4 x 21 1/2 x 17 1/2 in. (93.4 x 54.6 x 44.5 cm.) (2)


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    The present pair of chairs originally belonged to a set of three chairs acquired by Spink & Son from the collection of General Cluzeau, 25 Febraury 1925. One of the chairs was sold to Mr Hanrahan on 30 October 1928 and was donated to the Albany Institute of History and Art and is exhibited in the Hanrahan Memorial Room. The remaining pair of chairs was sold by Spinks in 1929 to Lucien Hamilton Tyng (1874-1933), one of the co-founders of the General Gas and Electric Company. A single chair, possibly the Hanrahan example or one from the present pair, is illustrated and discussed by Edward F. Strange in Chinese Lacquer, London, 1926, p. 44, pl. XXIII (see fig. 1).

    The production of carved cinnabar lacquer furniture of large size is extremely time consuming, and the current lot displays the most skilful craftsmanship of the Qianlong period. Few examples of lacquer furniture dating to the 18th century have survived in the Beijing Palace Museum collection. Compare a carved cinnabar lacquer cabinet with similar dragon motif against waves within a border of lotus scrolls, illustrated in Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (II), The Complete Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 247, fig. 210, and another a carved cinnabar lacquer throne chair in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in Zhongguo Qiqi Quanji, vol. 6, Qing, Fujian Publications, 1993, p. 183, fig 216.

    Provenance

    The Summer Palace, by repute
    General Cluzeau
    Messrs. Spink & Son, London, 1929
    Lucien Hamilton Tyng, New York


    Pre-Lot Text

    VARIOUS PROPERTIES