A very rare pair of imperial carved cinnabar lacquer 'dragon' armchairs. Qianlong period (1736-1795)

Each chair elaborately carved through layers of cinnabar lacquer in relief against the dark green keyfret ground, the central back splat curved into a cylindrical scrolled crested rail, decorated with a majestic dragon amongst clouds and waves holding a shou roundel above its head within lotus scroll borders, the dragon motif repeated on the reverse of the back panel and the seat board, the back side panels and the armrests in the form of elongated and formalised kui dragons, all carved with lotus scrolls; the seat frame edges, aprons, rectangular hoof-feet legs and stretchers carved with bats amidst clouds, the spandrels under the seat frame in keyfret pattern, and the foot rest covered in brass plates engraved with lotus scrolls. 36 3/4 x 21 1/2 x 17 1/2 in. (93.4 x 54.6 x 44.5 cm.) (2). Est. $777,696 - $1,036,928. Price Realized $873,612

清乾隆 御製剔紅躍龍捧壽紋扶手椅一對

椅為木胎, 通體綠漆回紋地上施紅漆雕飾花紋。後背正中背板雕纏枝蓮紋邊圈,中央高浮雕祥雲海水躍龍捧壽紋, 搭腦後捲; 背板兩側及扶手均飾以纏蓮拐子紋。座面及背板背面紅漆地, 刻飾雲龍紋。下有束腰, 牙條, 直腿, 馬蹄足, 皆雕飾蝠雲紋; 牙條下另安拐子紋托角牙, 腿足下部有管腳棖及銅飾踏腳棖。

漆器傢俱製作技術難度極高, 將木胎架成型後, 要上生漆,糊麻布, 待乾後再反覆上漆。雕漆傢俱在漆工藝中又最為費工費時。此對剔紅龍椅的製作年代為清乾隆時期, 其龍紋及雲紋的表現手法反映了乾隆時期的風格特色。

此對扶手椅原本是一組三張中的一對, 是斯賓克於1925年2月25日自Cluzeau 將軍的藏品中收購而來。其中一張於1928年10月30日出售給Mr Hanrahan, 隨後捐贈與阿爾巴尼歷史藝術機構, 並展示於Hanrahan 紀念館。另外一對由斯賓克在1929年賣給成立瓦斯電力公司的Lucien Hamilton Tyng。1926年倫敦出版 Edward F. Strange所著的Chinese Lacquer一書中,就有收錄其中一張剔紅龍紋扶手椅。

Provenance: The Summer Palace, by repute
General Cluzeau
Messrs. Spink & Son, London, 1929
Lucien Hamilton Tyng, New York

Notes: The present pair of chairs originally belonged to a set of three chairs acquired by Spink & Son from the collection of General Cluzeau, 25 Febraury 1925. One of the chairs was sold to Mr Hanrahan on 30 October 1928 and was donated to the Albany Institute of History and Art and is exhibited in the Hanrahan Memorial Room. The remaining pair of chairs was sold by Spinks in 1929 to Lucien Hamilton Tyng (1874-1933), one of the co-founders of the General Gas and Electric Company. A single chair, possibly the Hanrahan example or one from the present pair, is illustrated and discussed by Edward F. Strange in Chinese Lacquer, London, 1926, p. 44, pl. XXIII (see fig. 1).

The production of carved cinnabar lacquer furniture of large size is extremely time consuming, and the current lot displays the most skilful craftsmanship of the Qianlong period. Few examples of lacquer furniture dating to the 18th century have survived in the Beijing Palace Museum collection. Compare a carved cinnabar lacquer cabinet with similar dragon motif against waves within a border of lotus scrolls, illustrated in Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (II), The Complete Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 247, fig. 210, and another a carved cinnabar lacquer throne chair in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in Zhongguo Qiqi Quanji, vol. 6, Qing, Fujian Publications, 1993, p. 183, fig 216.

Christie's. The Imperial Saleimportant Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art . 27 May 2009. Convention Hall. Hong Kong. www.christies.com