A rare and large three-colour lacquer 'chun' incised gilt box and cover Qianlong six-character mark and of the period (2)

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Lot 143
A rare and large three-colour lacquer 'chun' incised gilt box and cover
Qianlong six-character mark and of the period

Sold for HK$ 815,000 (US$ 104,849) inc. premium
A rare and large three-colour lacquer 'chun' incised gilt box and cover
Qianlong six-character mark and of the period
The cover with rounded sides crisply carved through red, dark green and yellow layers of lacquer with a large chun 'spring' character above a large lobed dish filled with treasures in the centre within a red, yellow and dark green radiating panel, a circular window carved with a seated Shoulao centred in the chun character, all flanked by two five-clawed dragons amidst ruyi-clouds against a wan-diaper ground, both rounded sides of the cover and box exquisitely carved with the Eight Buddhist Treasures between four lobed cartouches centred with shou characters in different scripts and flanked by two bats amidst lotus scrolls, the interior and base lacquered black, the box raised on a short sturdy foot, the base with a gilt six-character reign mark Daqing qianlong nianzhi and four characters reading chunshou baohe. 38cm (15in) diam. (2).

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 剔彩春壽寶盒
    「大清乾隆年制 春壽寶盒」款

    The four characters chunshou baohe may be translated as 'Treasured box of Spring and longevity'. The character chun or 'Spring' on the cover, is a metaphor for youth and fertility. Combined with the figure of Shoulao, the God of Longevity, this box belongs to a group produced as tribute to be offered to the emperor representing wishes for long life and eternal youth. This group of Spring and longevity-themed polychrome lacquer wares include various forms and shapes, such as peach-shaped boxes and rectangular trays, all carved with chun and Shoulao in the centre flanked by a pair of dragons, surrounded by the Eight Buddhist Treasures. This design was introduced during the Jiajing reign of the Ming dynasty. Compare with a polychrome lacquer carved 'chun' box, Jiajing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, Hong Kong, 2006, no.134, p.176; see also another similar box, illustrated in Carving the Subtle Radiance of Colours: Treasured Lacquerware in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2008, pl.87, p.97.

    Unlike other works of art made for the Qing Court in the Zaoban Chu (Imperial Workshop), carved lacquer wares were made in Suzhou or Yangzhou before being inscribed with the reign mark and name in Beijing. According to the Imperial Workshop Archives, chunshou baohe, was the name given by the Qianlong emperor himself:

    'On the 7th day of August in the 8th year of Qianlong (1743), the Carving Department recorded: The seventh-rank officer Samuha reported that Eunuch Hu Shijie presented lacquer carved shouchun boxes, the Emperor ordered: Engrave 'chunshou baohe' four characters side by side. On the 27th of this month, the seventh-rank officer Samuha handed in four shouchun boxes carved 'shouchun baohe' four characters to Eunuch Hu Shijie to present to the emperor.' See R.Zhang, Yangxindian zaobanchu shiliao jilan-dierji Qianlong chao (Historical Materials Relating to the Imperial Workshop in Yangxing Dian: Part II Qianlong), Beijing, 2012, p.274.

    At least eighteen types of chunshou boxes were made during the Qianlong period, however, examples carved with four different shou characters in the cartouches around the sides are exceptionally rare. The majority of designs in cartouches are landscapes and figures. Compare with a 'chunshou' box in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, carved with landscapes and sages on the sides, illustrated in ibid., pl.137, p.136; compare also with another similar 'chunshou' box, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 2006, pl.61, p.88.

    Compare with a carved polychrome lacquer 'chun' box, Qianlong mark and period, which was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28 May 2014, lot 3004; and another but smaller polychrome lacquer 'chun' box, Qianlong period, which was sold at Sotheby's Kong Kong, 8 August 2014, lot 3224, both boxes are carved with landscapes and sages on the sides.

    盒髹朱、綠、黃三層彩漆,頗厚,盒蓋平頂,蓋心刻「春」字,春字三橫處開圓光,內浮雕壽老趺坐於松石下,朱綠兩層漆面雕錦地,春字筆畫內亦雕菱花錦地,字上方兩側雕二穿雲降龍,龍方頭五爪,雲分兩層,亦黃彩回紋錦地填之,春字下雕花棱聚寶盆一,盆內雕如意、犀角、方勝、珊瑚等雜寶,其上雕扇形三彩寶光,蓋緣圓溜,裝飾與盒緣同,八面開光,內雕蝙蝠穿花壽字紋,壽字每每不同,開光之間雕佛教八寶,綠彩錦地托之,盒內、底部髹退光黑漆,盒底刻「大清乾隆年製春壽寶盒」款,字內填金。

    春壽寶盒寄意子孫綿長,長生不老,盒心刻一大春字,字心再刻一壽老,為明代嘉靖朝首創,乾隆之春壽寶盒便以此為原型仿製,然而乾隆朝春壽題材的漆器並不以圓型捧盒為限,尚有桃形盒、長方形盒等多種形制,且又有刻「壽春寶盒」之例,皆為春壽題材之屬。兩地故宮皆藏有明嘉靖春壽寶盒,可見乾隆春壽寶盒之源流,見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:元明漆器》,香港,2006年,圖版134,頁176;以及《龢光剔彩—故宮藏漆圖錄》,台北,2008年,圖版87,頁97。

    乾隆漆器多為蘇州揚州兩地織造委託製作,再將精品送至北京,由皇帝揀選之後,再交內務府刻字作打款,《清宮內務府造辦處檔案》記載:「乾隆八年十一月初七日,刻字作:七品首領薩木哈來說太監胡世傑交春壽盒四件,傳旨:將盒底下並排刻『春壽寶盒』四字。欽此。於本月二十七日七品首領薩木哈將春壽盒四件俱刻得『春壽寶盒』四字,持進交太監胡世傑呈進訖。」見張榮編,《養心殿造辦處史料輯覽:第二輯乾隆朝》,北京,2012年,頁274。可見春壽寶盒之名乃是欽定。

    雖然乾隆一朝春壽寶盒制式眾多,蓋緣開光刻壽字的例子尚不見他例,多以山水人物或花卉紋為主。比較一件台北故宮藏一件剔彩春壽寶盒,蓋緣便是雕刻高士雅集圖,見《龢光》,圖版137,頁136;北京故宮以藏一近例,盒壁雕洗桐圖、米芾拜石等圖,見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:清代漆器》,香港,2006年,圖版61,頁88。佳士得香港曾售一件剔彩春壽寶盒可資參考,盒壁刻山水人物,2014年5月28日,拍品編號3004;香港蘇富比2014年10月8日售出一件剔彩壽春寶盒亦可比較之, 惟是壽春二字且體量較小,拍品編號3224。
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A rare and large three-colour lacquer 'chun' incised gilt box and cover Qianlong six-character mark and of the period (2)
A rare and large three-colour lacquer 'chun' incised gilt box and cover Qianlong six-character mark and of the period (2)
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