An exceptionally rare Imperial carved yellow and red lacquer 'dragon' tray Wanli mark cyclically dated Renchen year, corresponding to 1592 and of the period

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Lot 52
An exceptionally rare Imperial carved yellow and red lacquer 'dragon' tray
Wanli mark cyclically dated Renchen year, corresponding to 1592 and of the period

Sold for HK$ 5,500,000 (US$ 709,547) inc. premium
An exceptionally rare Imperial carved yellow and red lacquer 'dragon' tray
Wanli mark cyclically dated Renchen year, corresponding to 1592 and of the period
Of rectangular section with sloping sides rising from a straight foot with a slightly recessed base to an everted rim, intricately carved in differing levels of relief revealing the layers of ochre-yellow and cinnabar-red lacquers, the interior with two confronted powerful five-clawed scaly dragons writhing amidst ruyi-shaped clouds chasing a flaming peal at the centre, encircled by a band of leafy peony scrolls cornered by four ruyi-shaped motifs, the exterior decorated with a leafy floral border above a key-fret collar at the foot, the red-lacquered base with incised and gilt eight-character inscription at the top. 31.7cm (12 1/2in) long.

Footnotes

  • 明萬曆1592年 剔黃雙龍雲紋長方盤
    楷書「大明萬曆壬辰年製」刻款

    Provenance:
    Dr Jules Cerf-Mayer (1834-1900) Collection
    A French private collection, and thence by descent

    來源:
    朱爾·瑟福-梅爾博士(1834-1900)舊藏
    法國私人收藏,並由後人繼承

    Dr Jules Cerf-Mayer (1834-1900), was the Chief Medical doctor and surgeon of the Marine Division in the Near East and served six years in the French Colonies. He received the Chevalier Order of the French Legion of Honour in 1867, following his distinguished conduct during the Cholera epidemic of 1866 in Brest, and was promoted to Officer of the Legion of Honour in 1883. Dr Cerf-Mayer gave the present lot to the grandmother of the present owner.

    朱爾·瑟福-梅爾博士(1834-1900)早年於法國海軍擔任首席醫師,並在近東法屬殖民地服役六年。1867年榮獲法國榮譽軍團勳章騎士勳位,後因於1866年處理法國布列斯特霍亂疫情有功,於1883年再次被提攜為軍官勳位。此件龍紋雕漆盤則是朱爾博士贈送給現藏家祖母的禮物。

    This exceptional dish belongs to a small group of Imperial dated Wanli lacquer wares that were carved with yellow dragons on a red ground. This group is characterised by extremely fine and deep carving which has been made possible through the thickness of the lacquer ground that has been built up by numerous layers of lacquer. Compare a very similar carved yellow lacquer 'dragon' tray, Wanli mark cyclically dated Renchen year (1592) and of the period, formerly in the Kaisendo Museum, Yamagata, which was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 5 October 2016, lot 3684.

    A closely related dish, inscribed with a partially erased Wanli Yiwei mark along with an apocryphal Yongle mark, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, was included in the Museum's Special Exhibition of Lacquer Wares in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1981, no.31, together with two circular dishes, one carved with a yellow dragon and phoenix on a red ground with a Jiajing reign mark and of the period, and the other with a single yellow dragon, inscribed with a Wanli mark and of the period, nos.32 and 33 respectively.

    Compare with wares with related designs in this yellow carved lacquer group such as two boxes and covers of closely related form and design, but with a black-ground sea and dated to the Yiwei year of Wanli (corresponding to 1595), one in the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, Shanghai, 2006, no.169, and the other which was sold at Sotheby's New York, 16-17 September 2014, lot 548. See also a circular dish depicting one dragon amongst similarly rendered clouds above mountains and crashing waves, incised with a Yiwei cyclical date, in the Kaisendo Museum, Yamagata, included in the exhibition Ming and Qing Ceramics and Works of Art, Osaka Municipal Art Museum, Osaka, 1980, no.2:31, which was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1 June 2011, lot 3572; and another from the collection of Sir Harry and Lady Garner, included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition Arts of the Ming Dynasty, London, 1957, no.264.

    See also a closely related qiangjin and tianqi lacquer tray, decorated with a similar design, Wanli Renchen year and of the period, in the Nezu Art Museum, Tokyo, illustrated in Ch'iang-chin, Chinkin and Zonsei Lacquerware, Tokyo, 1974, p.73, no.53.

    Boxes of closely related rectangular form and design are known carved in various lacquer colours; for example see a polychrome example, also bearing the same eight-character inscription as the present piece, Da Ming Wanli Renchen nian zhi ('Made in the Renchen year of the Wanli period of the great Ming dynasty', corresponding to 1592), from the collection of Sakamoto Goro, which was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 October 2013, lot 160; and two boxes in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Carved Lacquer in the Palace Museum, Beijing, 1985, nos.228 and 229.

    The present tray is deftly carved with a pair of confronted five-clawed dragons pursuing the flaming pearl of wisdom and surrounded by ruyi-shaped clouds. These symbolise the auspicious wish for long life to the emperor, a wish that is mirrored in the mountains that also represent longevity and the sea which represents good fortune. The propitious message is carried through even into the colour scheme, where yellow, the Imperial colour, is surrounded by red, the colour of good fortune. This combination of colours mirror Jiajing porcelain designs, such as a mark and period red-ground jar decorated with two yellow dragons striding amongst clouds and rocks and waves below, formerly in the Meiyintang Collection, illustrated by R.Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol.2, London, 1994, pl.706, which was later sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7 April 2011, lot 66.

    盤方形,斜沿倭角,圈足,足內髹朱漆,盤外壁雕纏枝花卉紋,內壁雕纏枝牡丹紋,四角雕如意雲頭紋相接,並雕六格錦地,盤心雕五爪雙雲龍,長牙舞爪,左右並峙,龍身下雕波浪錦地,海水洶湧,波浪起伏,前屹立三座山峰,周圍間以如意雲紋,盤底陰刻填金「大明萬曆壬辰年製」楷書款。

    剔黃漆器為宮廷漆雕中最為罕見,此盤雕刻精細,為剔黃漆器中之佳品。髹漆厚重,刀法深邃,為明代晚期漆雕特點。參看日本山形縣蟹仙洞博物館舊藏一件明萬曆壬辰年製剔黃雲龍紋倭角長方盤,如本拍品如出一轍,後於香港蘇富比售出,2016年10月5日,拍品3684。

    台北故宮博物院藏一剔黃雙龍戲珠長方盤,底刻萬曆已未紀年款部分已磨,並刻永樂偽款,著錄於《故宮漆器特展》,台北,1981年,編號31。同展另有兩例,一剔黃龍鳳紋圓盤,底刻嘉靖年款。另一剔黃單龍紋,刻萬曆年款,見編號32及33。

    北京故宮博物院清宮舊藏一例剔彩雙龍長方盒,底刻萬曆已未年款,雖以三彩剔彩雕刻,但以黃漆為主,其構圖及雕工與本品類似,可資比較,見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集·元明漆器》,上海,2006年,圖版169;另見同類一剔彩雙龍長方盒,售於紐約蘇富比,2014年9月16-17日,拍品548。雕刻類似紋樣之例,見一雲龍紋圓盤,底刻已未紀年款,為日本蟹仙洞博物館舊藏,曾展於《中国美術展シリーズ5 明清の美術》,大阪市立美術館,大阪,1980年,編號2:31,後售於香港佳士得2011得年6月1日,拍品3572。另見Harry Garner 爵士伉儷舊藏一例,展於東方陶瓷協會舉辦《Arts of the Ming Dynasty》,倫敦,1957年,編號264。

    另見日本根津美術館藏一件明萬曆戧金填彩雙龍紋盤,底刻萬曆壬辰紀年款,其紋飾與本品一致,見《鎗金・沈金・存星一図版資料》,東京,1974年,頁73,編號53。

    同樣紋飾的長方形剔彩雲龍紋盒,可見一例底同樣刻「大明萬曆壬辰年製」款,原為阪本五郎舊藏,後售於香港蘇富比2013年10月8日,拍品160。另兩例錄於《故宮博物院藏雕漆》,北京,1985年,編號228 及 229。

    此盤雕刻五爪龍紋,一雙遊龍張牙瞪眼,毛髮飄舞,身形矯健,遊弋於祥雲之中,目光一致,追逐火珠。足下飾海水江崖,象徵吉慶平安、壽山福海之美願。黃、紅二色為皇家專用色彩,亦寓吉祥之意。黃、紅二色的組合,於嘉靖黃地紅彩雲龍紋罐亦有所見,見玫茵堂舊藏明嘉靖黃地紅彩雲龍紋罐,著錄於康蕊君,《玫茵堂中國陶瓷》,卷2,倫敦,1994年,圖706,後售於香港蘇富比,2011年4月7日,拍品66。
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An exceptionally rare Imperial carved yellow and red lacquer 'dragon' tray Wanli mark cyclically dated Renchen year, corresponding to 1592 and of the period
An exceptionally rare Imperial carved yellow and red lacquer 'dragon' tray Wanli mark cyclically dated Renchen year, corresponding to 1592 and of the period
An exceptionally rare Imperial carved yellow and red lacquer 'dragon' tray Wanli mark cyclically dated Renchen year, corresponding to 1592 and of the period
An exceptionally rare Imperial carved yellow and red lacquer 'dragon' tray Wanli mark cyclically dated Renchen year, corresponding to 1592 and of the period
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