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A RARE AND FINELY CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER 'DRAGON' BOWL
A RARE AND FINELY CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER 'DRAGON' BOWL

JIAJING SIX-CHARACTER MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1522-1566)

Details
A RARE AND FINELY CARVED CINNABAR LACQUER 'DRAGON' BOWL JIAJING SIX-CHARACTER MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1522-1566) The bowl is supported on a cylindrical foot rising to slightly rounded sides and surmounted by a flaring rim. The cavetto is carved through layers of cinnabar lacquer with two five-clawed dragons frolicking amongst ruyi clouds, mountains, pine tree, cereal grass, three stars and three chained drums against air and water diaper grounds. The mouth rim is adorned with a band of scroll with alternating lingzhi and Eight Treasures. The foot ring is encircled by a keyfret chain below a band of upright lappets. The interior and base are applied with black lacquer. The foot is incised and gilt with a Jiajing mark. 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm.) diam., box
Exhibited
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1993, 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, Catalogue, no. 64

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Lot Essay

The carving of the current bowl displays superb craftsmanship of the lacquer artist, with exquisite rendering of details of the many decorative elements typical of imperial Jiajing lacquer wares, which are characterised by the frequent depiction of dragons, phoenixes and various auspicious symbols. It represents a stylistic shift from the early Ming wares which are usually decorated with landscape or bird and flower motifs. It is also carved in lower relief than examples from the preceeding reigns, though the quality of carving remains exceptional.

The National Palace Museum, Taipei has a Jiajing-marked bowl of almost identical design, and inscribed with a poem by the Qianlong Emperor, illustrated in Carving the Subtle Radiance of Colors. Treasured Lacquerware in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2008, pl. 88. This design retained its popularity in the succeeding periods, as we find another bowl of similar design but carved out of yellow lacquer with a Wanli mark, in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, and illustrated in Zhongguo qiqi quanji, vol. 5, Ming, Fuzhou, 1995, pl. 134.

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