• For the Enjoyment of Scholars: auction at Christies

    Sale 2391

    For the Enjoyment of Scholars: Selections from the Robert H. Blumenfield Collection

    25 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 895

    AN IMPERIAL BAMBOO VENEER AND BONE KNIFE AND SHEATH

    18TH/19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    AN IMPERIAL BAMBOO VENEER AND BONE KNIFE AND SHEATH
    18TH/19TH CENTURY
    The two-color bamboo veneer sheath and handle decorated in relief with archaistic scrolls, with bone blade and mounts, including a small rectangular strip on the sheath with gilt-metal boss that forms the handle of a slender removable scraper that slips into an opening in the sheath
    12 11/16 in. (32.2 cm.) long, box


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    The sheath and handle of this knife are 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 time-consuming and took extraordinary skill accounting for the relative rarity of pieces executed in this technique. For a knife and sheath of similar type described as a knife for cutting paper see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - Small Refined Articles of the Study, Shanghai, 2009, no. 171.