A rare cinnabar lacquer rectangular box and cover Late Ming Dynasty, 16th/17th century
Lot 299
A rare cinnabar lacquer rectangular box and cover
Late Ming Dynasty, 16th/17th century
£50,000 - 80,000
US$ 82,000 - 130,000

Lot Details
A rare cinnabar lacquer rectangular box and cover Late Ming Dynasty, 16th/17th century A rare cinnabar lacquer rectangular box and cover Late Ming Dynasty, 16th/17th century
A rare cinnabar lacquer rectangular box and cover
Late Ming Dynasty, 16th/17th century
The cover smoothly carved with a scholarly scene of a visiting general dismounted from his horse approaching a group of two scholars playing chess observed by another figure with a ruyi sceptre and a boy attendant near a recumbent deer and duck, while a further figure with a fly-whisk peeks from behind a rocky outcrop, all within a grove of pines with unusually whorled needles and other trees, the sides of the cover and box carved with birds perching and flying amid flowering branches, the interior lacquered black. 25.5cm (10in) long (2).

Footnotes

  • 明晚期十六/十七世紀 剔紅人物故事圖長方蓋盒

    The large box is well carved on the cover probably illustrating an episode from the life of Kong Rong (153-208 AD), a statesman and scholar who lived towards the end of the Han Dynasty. He was noted for his biting wit, and once mocked the Chancellor Cao Cao (155-220 AD) in public. For humiliating Cao Cao several times, Kong Rong was put to death on various charges.

    According to the historical records, Kong Rong was playing weiqi with his children when he was arrested. When others urged him to escape he answered "How could there be unbroken eggs under a toppled nest? 安有巢毀而卵不破者乎?" By this Kong Rong meant that when a group suffers, all individuals belonging to it will be affected. This box therefore would have illustrated the importance of family union.

    Compare a related box and cover, late Ming Dynasty, from the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, Beijing, 2006, pl.196; and see also a slightly smaller rectangular lacquer box and cover, 16th century, illustrated in P.Frick, Chinesische Lackkunst, Münster, 2010, pl.23.
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