A carved cinnabar lacquer brush handle and cover Jiajing
Lot 533
A carved cinnabar lacquer brush handle and cover Jiajing
Sold for HK$ 162,500 (US$ 20,960) inc. premium
Lot Details
Property from an important private collection (lots 531-538)
A carved cinnabar lacquer brush handle and cover
Of slender cylindrical form, tapering at the tip, with a thick layer of red lacquer towards the exterior, both the cover and brush handle enclosed within upper and lower carved keyfret borders and lotus petal borders, deeply carved on the main frieze with an elaborate scene of aged scholars amongst an open landscape admiring the full moon, a group of young boys depicted playing around the willow tree, all carved on a diamond-shaped quatrefoil diaper ground, the tip of the cover carved with the character fu.
15.3cm long. (2).


  • Provenance 來源:
    An English collection, acquired from a Japanese aristocratic family, Kobe, 1980s
    Sotheby's London, 12 July 2006, Lot 11

    The Chinese regard the brush, ink, paper and ink stone as the 'four treasures of the scholar studio', which bear very important cultural connotations. Not only are they stationaries for daily use, they are also the fundamental tools for producing excellent calligraphy and paintings. The brush has also joined the ranks of ceramics, jades, bamboo and carved lacquer, becoming a work for art for appreciation and collecting, especially for the scholarly class. However, it is rare to find examples such as the current lot, preserved in such excellent condition.

    The use of brushes can be dated to the Warring States period, with archaeological examples dated from Tang and Song dynasty, where production of brushes from named craftsmen such as the Tang master Chen Shi and Song master Zhuge Shi were well-known. Production of high quality lacquer brushes reached their zenith during the Ming dynasty and were already a valuable commodity during that period.

    The current lot is well preserved and exhibits wonderfully controlled carving techniques of the Ming dynasty particular to the Jiajing period. For similar examples of Ming dynasty lacquer brushes, see The Four Treasures of the Study – Inksticks and Writing Brushes. The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2005, pp.139-140, nos. 120 & 121 (fig.1). See also other comparable examples, illustrated in: Dechun Meishuguan Mingpin Ji. Tangwu Qiqi, Japan, p.47, no.73; Wenju: Yongqing Wenku Mingpin Xuan Tokyo, 1978, p.53; and 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, The Art Gallery, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1993, p.138, no.71.

    明嘉靖 剔紅雕漆高士、山水紋飾漆筆