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AN EXTREMELY RARE EARLY MING MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID BROWN LACQUER STATIONARY BOX AND COVER
AN EXTREMELY RARE EARLY MING MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID BROWN LACQUER STATIONARY BOX AND COVER

YUAN/EARLY MING DYNASTY, 14TH/15TH CENTURY

Details
AN EXTREMELY RARE EARLY MING MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID BROWN LACQUER STATIONARY BOX AND COVER
YUAN/EARLY MING DYNASTY, 14TH/15TH CENTURY
The rectangular cover finely inlaid with iridescent mother-of-pearl with an aquatic scene depicting a pair of courting mandarin ducks with intricately detailed plumage among budding and blossoming lotus reeds, with fish, crabs and crustaceans swimming at their feet, all below pairs of butterflies, birds and dragonflies and a spider suspended from overhanging fruiting pomegranate and willow branches, the sides of the box and cover decorated with alternating full chrysanthemum and lotus blooms borne on slender leafy scrolling stems, the shaped apron with scattered Buddhist emblems, accompanied by a later added fitted Japanese lacquer tray with an inkstone and bronze waterpot
11 x 8 1/4 in. (28 x 21 cm.), Japanese wood box
Provenance
Harumi Shoten Osaka, 1909
Kyoto Bijitsu Club
A Japanese private collection

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Aster Ng
Aster Ng

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Lot Essay

The present box relates very closely and is likely to have been produced by the same artist or workshop as a mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquer stand sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29 May 2007, lot 1568. The scene depicted on the top of the stand and the present box include the same elements and are very similar in composition.

It is extremely rare to find a mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquer decorated with birds from this early period; the majority of extent pieces are decorated with figures in landscapes (narratives of popular stories or plays, or historical figures), or elegant floral branches or detached sprigs. Compare with the equally elaborate birds, this time cranes or egrets in flight above a lotus pond on a oval container dated to the Yuan dynasty in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2006, p. 20, no. 13

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