Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A VERY RARE PAIR OF HUANGHUALI 'DRAGON' CABINETS
A VERY RARE PAIR OF HUANGHUALI 'DRAGON' CABINETS
1 More
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
A VERY RARE PAIR OF HUANGHUALI 'DRAGON' CABINETS

THE DOORS, YONGZHENG PERIOD (1723-1736)

Details
A VERY RARE PAIR OF HUANGHUALI 'DRAGON' CABINETS
THE DOORS, YONGZHENG PERIOD (1723-1736)
The doors are superbly carved in high relief and in mirror image, each with a dominant five-clawed dragon above a smaller five-clawed dragon and bulging waves, amidst cloud and fire scrolls with an additional bat in flight descending toward a peach sprig.
57 3/4 in. (147 cm.) high, 33 1/4 in. (84.5 cm.) wide, 21 in. (53.5 cm.)
Provenance
A French private collection
Exhibited
Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and The Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong, Divine Power - The Dragon in Chinese Art, February-October 2012
Special notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory, tortoiseshell and crocodile. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

Brought to you by

Marco Almeida (安偉達)
Marco Almeida (安偉達) SVP, Senior International Specialist, Head of Department

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

This item is made of a type of Dalbergia wood which is subject to CITES export/import restrictions since 2 January 2017. This item can only be shipped to addresses within Hong Kong or collected from our Hong Kong saleroom and office unless a CITES re-export permit is granted. Please contact the department for further information.

A pair of closely related and intact huanghuali compound cabinets carved with similar dragons as the principle motif, measuring 113 in. (287 cm.) in height, was sold at China Guardian, 20 November 2010, lot 2105. It is mentioned that in the 1950s, a massive cabinet decorated with dragons amidst clouds was recorded to be in the possession of the Beijng Harwood Furniture Factory. It is possible the cited Beijing factory example is the present pair of cabinets, and that it had been altered at the time due to economic circumstances and to accommodate the size of contemporary households.

The theme of the decoration shows two dragons amongst waves. The upper dragon represents the emperor, while it is likely that the lower dragon represents the crown prince, who is receiving instruction from his father. Parallels can be drawn between this design and the famous hanging scroll on silk, preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, entitled, Spring's peaceful message, which was painted by the Italian Jesuit missionary artist Giuseppe Castiglione, known at the Chinese court as Lang Shining (illustrated in The Qianlong Emperor - Treasures from the Forbidden City, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, 2002, p. 30-31, no. 2). The painting shows a younger man bending slightly from the waist in a gesture of respect, and receiving a floral spray from an older man. The majority of scholars believe that this painting is intended to depict Prince Hongli (the future Qianlong emperor) receiving the sprig of blossom from his father, the Yongzheng emperor. Certainly the Qianlong emperor identified himself as the young man in an inscription which he wrote on the painting in 1782, when he was 71 years old. The painting suggest the respect of the young prince for his father, the emperor, and possibly anticipates the transfer of the mandate of heaven and the responsibility for the good of the empire that went with it. Assuming that this is the correct interpretation of the decoration on the cabinets, then we can speculate that these panels were once part of a larger compound cabinet ordered by the emperor to commemorate some special occasion, possibly a birthday celebration as suggested by the additional motifs of peach sprays and bats.

More from Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

View All
View All