An extremely rare cinnabar lacquer dish Incised Yongle six-character mark and of the period

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Lot 459A
An extremely rare cinnabar lacquer dish
Incised Yongle six-character mark and of the period

Sold for £ 108,000 (US$ 135,260) inc. premium
An extremely rare cinnabar lacquer dish
Incised Yongle six-character mark and of the period
Superbly deeply carved with a central peony blossom issuing from a leafy spray, encircled by a variety of blossoms borne on overlapping leafy sprays including gardenia, camellia, chrysanthemum, lotus, water-weed, pink, peach and cherry blossom, all amidst further smaller floral sprays, all encircled by the lipped rim, the underside similarly carved with floral sprays.
25.5cm (10in) diam.

Footnotes

  • Provenance: an English private collection, purchased by the father of the present owner, circa 1940s-1960s.

    Yongle-marked cinnabar lacquer dishes are extremely rare with several extant examples in important museum and private collections. The Palace Museum holds several similarly carved cinnabar lacquer dishes, Yongle mark and period, illustrated in Carved Lacquer Ware, Beijing, 2008; see pls.10 (similarly carved but with two peacocks), pl.13 (similar composition but with peony and with later Qianlong mark) and pl.14 (similar composition but with a different variety of flowers). See also a related larger cinnabar lacquer dish, six-character Xuande mark but possibly earlier, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, similarly carved with an exquisite design of central peony blossom encircled by a nearly identical floral composition, illustrated by D.Clifford, Chinese Carved Lacquer, London, 1992, pl.25.

    Chiang Fu-tsung, Director of the National Palace Museum, writes in his foreword to the Special Exhibition Catalogue of Lacquer Ware at the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1981: 'The wares produced at the Kuo-yuan Palace workshops during the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle were of special excellence and are recorded in historical works'. According to the Ming work entitled Ti-ching ching-wu ('An Account of the Wonders of the Imperial Capital'): 'The Imperial wares produced during the Xuande reign (1426-35) were inferior to those of previous eras, and the artisans were frequently punished for this. Because of this, they would privately acquire earlier wares in the Imperial collection and change their reign marks to those of the present reign for presentation to the emperor'. This would indeed reinforce the opinion that the Ashmolean Museum Xuande-marked lacquer dish noted above, which is similar to the present lot, was actually produced during the Yongle period.

    Compare a related cinnabar lacquer dish, Yongle mark, early Ming Dynasty, sold at Christie's New York, 27 November 1991, lot 18; and a smaller cinnabar lacquer dish with related floral design, unmarked, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 May 2006, lot 1527.
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An extremely rare cinnabar lacquer dish Incised Yongle six-character mark and of the period
An extremely rare cinnabar lacquer dish Incised Yongle six-character mark and of the period
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