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    Sale 2621

    Important Chinese Lacquer Wares from the Lee Family Collection

    3 December 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 2105

    AN EXTREMELY RARE PEWTER-INLAID FLORAL-LOBED BLACK LACQUER BOX AND COVER

    Price Realised  

    AN EXTREMELY RARE PEWTER-INLAID FLORAL-LOBED BLACK LACQUER BOX AND COVER
    YUAN DYNASTY (1279-1368)

    Of oval cross-section with the rounded sides in twelve lobes, the upper surface of the cover accentuated by two lines of pewter wires outlining the floral-shaped sides, surrounding a double-oval at the centre, the similarly shaped box is supported on a short splayed floral foot; the interior of the box accommodating a removable tray furnished with a fitted miniature inkstone and a copper water container with a short spout, the rims of the cover, the box and foot ring lined with pewter wire, covered all over in a dark brown lacquer with exception of the red lacquer interiors
    7 1/2 in. (19 cm.) long, Japanese wood box


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    Although the present lot belongs to a distinct group of Yuan lacquer boxes with lobed sides and pewter trim, it is highly unusual in its oval cross-section shape measuring 19 cm. long and 7 cm. high. Two similar lobed boxes are published in Hai-Wai Yi-Chen, Chinese Art in Overseas Collections, Lacquerware, National Palace Museum, 1987. The first box, in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, also formed with twelve lobes but considerably larger in size (35.9 cm. long and 10.8 cm. high) is illustrated, op. cit., 1987, p. 53, no. 51; and a smaller box of eight lobes (21.9 cm. long and 7.8 cm. high), is in the Detroit Institute of Arts, p. 54, no. 52.

    Many examples of this type of box are of larger and taller shape, such as the one illustrated by J. Watt and B. Ford, East Asian Lacquer, The Florence and Herbert Irving Collection, New York, 1991, pl. 3. The Irving box also holds a shallow tray with its mouth rim resting on the flanges of the mouth of the box. It has been suggested that this particular form was most probably adapted from contemporaneous silverware, ibid, p. 44.

    Exhibited

    Tokyo National Museum, Japan, 1977, Oriental Lacquer Arts, Catalogue, no. 486
    The Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, 1990, Dragon and Phoenix, Chinese Lacquer Ware, The Lee Family Collection, Catalogue, no. 24
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990/91
    The Shoto Museum of Art, Shibuya, Japan, 1991, Chinese Lacquerware, Catalogue, no. 13