• Important Chinese Lacquer from auction at Christies

    Sale 2730

    Important Chinese Lacquer from the Lee Family Collection

    1 December 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1832

    AN EXTREMELY RARE MING CINNABAR LACQUER 'DRAGON' CIRCULAR DISH

    Price Realised  

    AN EXTREMELY RARE MING CINNABAR LACQUER 'DRAGON' CIRCULAR DISH
    LONGQING INCISED AND GILT SIX-CHARACTER MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1567-1572)

    The circular dish with deep rounded sides, the interior finely carved in high relief to the buff ground with a lively upright five-clawed dragon, forearms raised to the sides, poised to capture a 'flaming pearl' floating amidst ruyi clouds, within a grooved circular medallion, the cavetto with six lotus blooms borne on a continuous foliate vine, with lingzhi scroll in a frieze on the exterior above a band of keyfret encircling the footring, the base lacquered red bearing the reign mark
    6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm.) diam., box


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    Lacquer carvings with Longqing reign marks are rare as the reign period was short, lasting only six years (1567-1572). Only five examples including the present dish have been published. Three comparable Longqing dishes all with similar upright dragons are known: the first, a dish also from the R.H.R Palmer and Lee Family collections, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, Important Chinese Lacquer from the Lee Family Collection, 3 December 2008, lot 2130; a very similar dish of the same design and approximately the same size was included in the exhibition, 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong and the Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1993, no. 67; and a lobed carved polychrome lacquer box was included in the exhibition, Carving the Subtle Radiance of Colors, Treasured Lacquerware in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2007, illustrated in the Catalogue, p. 106, no. 95; where the author cites the Lee Family dishes as references. Also, see a descending dragon on a Longqing basin in the British Museum, illustrated by Harry Garner, Chinese Lacquer, Faber and Faber, London, 1979, p. 145, no. 87.

    The rendition of the lively upright dragon is closely comparable to those of the preceding Jiajing reign (1522-1566), cf. Jiajing-marked cinnabar lacquer carvings included in the exhibition, 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1993, p. 119, no. 59, an octagonal dish; an octagonal box, p. 123, no. 62; and a bowl, p. 127, no. 64.

    Provenance

    Previously sold at Christie's London, 14 December 1983, lot 59


    Literature

    Zhongguo Qiqi Quanji, vol. 5, Ming, Fujian meishu chubanshe, 1995, no. 130


    Exhibited

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990/91
    The Shoto Museum of Art, Shibuya, Japan, 1991, Chinese Lacquerware, Catalogue, no. 65