A rare pair of archaistic lacquer four-tiered vases, covers and stands, hu18th/19th century
Lot 441
A rare pair of lacquer archaistic four-tiered vases, covers and stands, hu18th/19th century
Sold for £86,400 (US$ 144,537) inc. premium
Auction Details
A 19th Century pair of Chinese lacquered urns
Lot Details
The Property of a Gentleman
A rare pair of lacquer archaistic four-tiered vases, covers and stands, hu
18th/19th century
Each modelled after the archaic bronze prototype, comprising four compartments, decorated with a taotie-mask border reserved on a leiwen ground alternating with an interwoven lappet design comprising C scrolls, with a collar of pendent lappets below the rim enclosing cicadas reserved on a leiwen ground, the rim and foot with a key-fret border, the cover with stylised phoenix reserved on leiwen ground below the oval finial with diaper grounds, all raised on a carved stand with four ruyi supports, decorated with various diaper grounds and a lotus-petal border. 34.5cm (13⅝in) high. (12)


  • Provenance: an English private collection and thence by descent.

    The present pair is very rare. Compare related carved cinnabar lacquer vessels inspired by archaic bronze forms in the National Palace Museum, illustrated by Chen Huixia, Carving the Subtle Radiance of Colors: Treasured Lacquerware in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2008, pls.167-169; note in particular pl.168, a four-tiered double-lozenge vase.

    In form and design the present lot resembles and is inspired by Shang Dynasty bronze hu ritual wine vessels, such as the one illustrated by R.W.Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington, D.C., 1987, pl.58. This is in accordance with the Qianlong Emperor's advocation for the restoration of the ancient ways and return of craftsmen to antiquity for models. This was not simply a return to previous aesthetics but a view of ancient culture as being imbued with intrinsic qualities of sincerity, simplicity and happy exuberance. The inspiration from archaism is seen also in works of art made from materials such as porcelain and jade, as illustrated by a pair of Qianlong mark and period jade jue vessels, sold in these rooms on 5 November 2009, lot 243.