A very rare pair of carved cinnabar-lacquer 'weiqi' boxes and covers Late 16th/early 17th century (4)

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Lot 102
A very rare pair of carved cinnabar-lacquer 'weiqi' boxes and covers
Late 16th/early 17th century

Sold for £ 150,062 (US$ 206,360) inc. premium
A very rare pair of carved cinnabar-lacquer 'weiqi' boxes and covers
Late 16th/early 17th century
Each gently curving sides exquisitely carved with three-stringed lutes or sanxian, clappers or paiban, mouth-organs or sheng, and bells, as well conch-shells, fans, crickets, and auspicious symbols, all on a diaper-pattern ground, the gently domed covers carved with ripe lychees borne on leafy branches, each lychee carved with different patterns. Each 12.5cm (4 7/8in) wide. (4).

Footnotes

  • 十六世紀晚期/十七世紀早期 剔紅圍棋蓋罐一對

    The present lot is extremely rare and there seem to be few published examples.

    The game of weiqi (圍棋) or encirclement chess, which is perhaps better known in the West by its Japanese name of Go, was considered to be one of the four accomplishments of a scholar-gentleman in traditional Chinese society. The other three arts included playing the qin (琴), a seven-stringed zither much enjoyed by Confucius; calligraphy or shu (書); and painting or hua (畫). The decoration of various antiques and musical instruments on the present lot underscore their nature as objects for leisure and entertainment. According to some traditional accounts, the mythical emperor Yao invented the game to enlighten his son. The game which was known then as yi (弈) was also mentioned in the Analects (Lunyu 論語) ascribed to the sage Confucius.

    Weiqi boxes and covers were continuously made for the elites in Chinese society. See a cinnabar-lacquer carved weiqi box and cover, Southern Song dynasty, in Daiju-ji temple, Okazaki, illustrated in So Gen no bi: denrai no shiki o chushin ni, Tokyo, 2004, pl.117. Compare with a related but earlier pair of cinnabar lacquer weiqi boxes, Xuande six-character mark and of the period, which was sold at Christie's New York, 19 March 2009, lot 581. Compare also with a pair of lacquer weiqi boxes, Xuande six-character mark, late Ming dynasty, illustrated by K.Brandt, Chinesische Lackarbeiten: Linden Museum, pp.132-133, no.80. See also a pair of related cinnabar lacquer weiqi boxes and covers, Jiajing six-character mark and of the period, illustrated in China Lacquerwork & Enamelware Selection, Beijing, 2006, p.59.
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A very rare pair of carved cinnabar-lacquer 'weiqi' boxes and covers Late 16th/early 17th century (4)
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