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Est: $4,000,000 HKD - $6,000,000 HKDSold:
Sotheby'sApril 11, 2008Hong Kong, China

Item Overview


the flat circular cover crisply carved through the deep layers of the brick-red lacquer with a scene of a scholar arriving on horseback at a pavilion followed by his attendant carrying his qin , as the servants inside the kitchen prepare the meal, two other scholars dine in an upstairs room overlooking a lake and a rock garden with a large willow tree in the center, the sides of the box and cover carved through to the ochre ground with matching flower scrolls of chrysanthemums and peonies, the interior and base lacquered with a dark chocolate brown, the base further incised with a six-character Xuande reign mark and filled-in with gold in a vertical line on the left-hand side, with faint traces of a Yongle mark beneath


measurements note 22cm., 8 5/8 in.


Henry Barbet de Jouy (1812-1896), Curator of the Louvre Museum.


Lee Yu-Kuan in Oriental Lacquer Art, New York, 1972, pp.40-41, suggests that the group of Yongle wares with Xuande marks can be dated to the short period when finished lacquer was still in the workshops but had not yet been presented to the Yongle Emperor before his sudden death in 1424. The Yongle marks were then changed to Xuande for presentation to the new Xuande Emperor in the early months of his reign, but still using the Yongle position of the mark down the left hand side rather than the inscription down the centre or across the top adopted for Xuande wares. See similar lacquer boxes with needle-incised Yongle marks beneath the Xuande mark; one illustrated in ibid., pl.106; and three examples in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Lacquerwares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, vol. 45, Hong Kong, 2006, nos. 47-49. Also see a lacquer box carved with a five-clawed dragon, with an incised Yongle mark beneath a Xuande mark, sold in these rooms, 31st October 2004, lot 16. See similar lacquer boxes with a Yongle mark and of the period, carved with different but closely related scenes of scholars in garden settings; one included in the Tokyo National Museum exhibition of Chinese Arts of the Ming and Ch'ing Periods, Tokyo, 1977, cat.no.499; together with two from the Nezu Art Museum, cat.nos.497 and 498. See similar examples in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated op.cit., pls.37-41. See a Yongle incised box from the Norton and Sedgwick Collections, sold in our London rooms, 26th March 1963, lot 34, and again, 2nd July 1968, lot 66; another sold in these rooms, 21st May 1985, lot 330; and a related dish with a Yongle incised mark sold in these rooms 17th November 1988, lot 272, and later in our New York rooms 30th March 2006, lot 75.

Auction Details

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

April 11, 2008, 12:00 PM EST

5/F One Pacific Place, Hong Kong, Admiralty, -, CN