A large 'Immortals' cinnabar lacquer box and cover  Qianlong
Lot 383
A rare large 'Immortals' cinnabar lacquer box and cover Qianlong
Sold for £49,250 (US$ 79,918) inc. premium

Lot Details
A large 'Immortals' cinnabar lacquer box and cover  Qianlong A large 'Immortals' cinnabar lacquer box and cover  Qianlong A large 'Immortals' cinnabar lacquer box and cover  Qianlong A large 'Immortals' cinnabar lacquer box and cover  Qianlong A large 'Immortals' cinnabar lacquer box and cover  Qianlong
A rare large 'Immortals' cinnabar lacquer box and cover
Qianlong
The cover crisply incised in the central medallion with a vividly detailed scene of Immortals crossing the East Sea, including three variously balanced on a toad, a lotus leaf and a bamboo spray floating over the water towards two further Immortals gathered on a high terrace, another terrace with two attendants, one pulling a wheeled raft laden with peaches and the other carrying a lingzhi fungus beside a crane as two more figures carry a basket of flowers uphill beside a peach tree, all enclosed by a key-fret border and a further border of bats and peaches, the sides of the cover and box both with scattered floral medallions on a floral geometric ground. 49.5cm (19 3/8in) diam. (2).

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 剔紅八仙過海圖圓蓋盒

    The scene on the present lot depicts the story of the Eight Immortals crossing the sea (八仙過海 ba xian guo hai) on their way to attend the Conference of the Magical Peach (蟠桃會 pan tao hui). When they come to the ocean, Lü Dongbin suggested that they each should each exercise their unique powers to get across. From this tales is derived the Chinese proverb 'The Eight Immortals cross the sea, each reveals its divine power' (八仙過海,各顯神通, ba xian guo hai, ge xian shen tong), indicating that everybody should use their unqiue skills and expertise to achieve a common goal.

    The present box is a superb example from the Qianlong period in which the subject of the Eight Immortals was commonly used for auspicious decoration. The box however, is unusual with the intricately carved floral medallions on the sides, of which only a few examples can be found with similar borders, enhancing the rarity of the piece. Compare two related Qianlong mark and period lacquer boxes and covers in the Qing Court collection with similar borders, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Lacquerware, Beijing, 2006, nos.5-6.
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