Lot 18. A rare simulation lacquer-and-basketry box and cover, Moulded seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 12.8 cm., 5 in. Estimate 5,000,000-7,000,000 HKD. Lot Sold: 12,420,000 HKD (1,595,722 USD). Photo Sotheby's

of compressed globular form on a splayed foot, the flat top of the cover finely moulded with a large central medallion enclosing a five-clawed dragon with one claw clutching a 'flaming pearl' amidst scrolling clouds, its head flanked by a pair of horns above bushy eyebrows, the gently curved and sloping sides decorated with four panels simulating basketry surrounded by lotus scrolls with interspersed florets, the sides of the box similarly decorated above a band of pendant petals encircling the foot, covered overall with a cinnabar-lacquer red glaze with the details picked out in gilt, the interior glazed in turquoise, the base moulded with a gilded six-character seal mark

ProvenanceCollection of H.M. Knight (died 1970), The Hague.
S. Marchant & Son, London (label).

Exhibited: Oosterse Schatten. 4,000 Jaar Aziatische Kunst, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1954, cat. no. 425.

Literature: Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1835.

Note: Lacquer-and-basketry boxes were very popular in the late Ming period (1368-1644), but were not made for court use and generally do not depict the five-clawed dragon. The present imperial porcelain version of a non-imperial lacquer box is highly unusual.

Compare a porcelain copy of a carved lacquer box without basketwork, included in The 7th Annual Exhibition of Porcelain of Ch'ing Dynasty. K'ang-hsi, Yung-cheng and Ch'ien-lung Periods (from 1662 to 1795 A.D.), Min Ch'iu Society, Hong Kong, 1968, cat.no. 144.

Sotheby's. The Meiyintang Collection, Part II - An Important Selection of Chinese Porcelains. Hong Kong, 5 october 2011