A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)

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Lot 103
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets
Yongzheng/Qianlong

Sold for £ 225,062 (US$ 298,793) inc. premium
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets
Yongzheng/Qianlong
One cabinet with nine variously proportioned and positioned open compartments, the other with eight compartments, all framed within black and gold lacquer friezes superbly embellished with mother-of-pearl inlays with an elaborate decoration of lotus flowerheads amidst dense foliage, the interior coated with dark green lacquer, meticulously enriched with lotus blossoms borne on meandering foliate scrolls, all raised on four legs linked by a lower frieze. Each 168.1cm (66 1/4in) high x 70.1cm (27 5/8in) wide x 32.2cm (12 3/4in) deep. (2).

Footnotes

  • 清雍正/乾隆 御製黑漆描金嵌螺鈿花卉紋多寶格一對

    Provenance: Livio Borghese (1874-1939), 11th Prince of Sulmona, Prince of Rossano, Prince of Vivaro, Prince of Montecompatri, Duke of Palombara, Duke of Poggio Nativo and Castelchiodato, head of the House of Borghese, Italy, and thence by descent

    來源:意大利蘇爾莫納第十一任親王,羅薩諾親王,維瓦羅親王,蒙泰孔帕特里親王,帕隆巴拉公爵,波其奧納蒂沃及卡斯特爾基奧達托公爵,意大利博爾蓋塞眾議院議長,利維奧·博爾蓋塞(1874-1939)舊藏,並由後人保存迄今

    Prince Livio Borghese was an Italian diplomat from the end of the 19th century until his death in 1939, serving in China, the Ottoman Empire and other European countries. It is likely that the present lot was acquired during his service in China. His elder brother Prince Scipione Borghese (1871-1927), 10th Prince of Sulmona, was famous for winning the 'Peking to Paris' car race in 1907.

    The present pair of cabinets belongs to an exclusive group of lacquer furniture manufactured for Imperial consumption, decorated in the virtuoso technique of mother-of-pearl inlay, with the incorporation of gold and silver foil.

    While the use of the mother-of-pearl inlay on lacquer, employed throughout the Ming dynasty, became very popular during the Kangxi period, the gilt decoration on lacquer became more prevalent from the Yongzheng period. The spectacular visual effect, resulting from the combination of the brilliant gilding and the endless shades of pink, purple and green iridescences, reveals the exceptional dexterity of the imperial craftsmen. Compare the scrolling floral borders, executed in gilding and mother-of-pearl inlays, decorating an imperial black-lacquer throne and matching screen, both dated to the third quarter of the 17th century, from the Museum of Asian Art, Berlin, illustrated in Im Zeichen Des Drachen, Stuttgart, 2007, pp.202-204.

    Openwork display cabinets, known as duobaoge or 'curio cabinet of many treasures', developed and reached the height of popularity during the 18th century gracing the Imperial halls. The carefully designed asymmetrical and irregular compartments are characteristic of the duobaoge developed in the early Qing period. Such cabinets would have been used to display precious objects including ceramics, jade carvings, cloisonné enamel and archaic and later bronzes.

    A related double-pair of mother-of-pearl-inlaid red and green lacquer cabinets, mid Qing dynasty, from the Qing Court Collection, is in the Chuxiugong 'Hall of Gathered Elegance' in the Forbidden City. Each cabinet is placed side by side with another to make a pair, and each pair is placed in a different part of the Imperial hall. The present lot of one such pair of cabinets would almost certainly have formed part of the same suite of display cabinets; see Classics of the Forbidden City: Inlaid Furniture, Beijing, 2013, pl.24 (showing one such pair of cabinets); and Ming Qing Gongting Jia Zhu Da Guan, vol.II, Beijing, 2006, pp.696-697, pls.798-1 and 798-4 (showing the double pairs of cabinets in the Chuxiugong).

    Compare to a related pair of Imperial mother-of-pearl-inlaid red and gilt-green lacquer cabinets, Mid Qing dynasty, which was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, 29 May 2018, lot 32.
Contacts
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
A pair of very rare imperial gilt-lacquer and mother-of-pearl-inlaid display cabinets Yongzheng/Qianlong  (2)
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