A black lacquer spoon, Northern Song Dynasty

Lot 28. A black lacquer spoon, Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127); 25.6 cm., 10 1/8 in. Estimate 50,000 — 70,000 HKD. Lot sold 325,000 HKD. Photo Sotheby's 2014

elegantly shaped with a slender shallow scoop and an arched rounded handle flattening at the end, the lustrous lacquer of deep black colour.

Exhibited2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer. Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong and the Art Gallery, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1993, cat. no. 15.
Layered Beauty: The Baoyizhai Collection of Chinese Lacquer, Art Museum, Institute of Chinese Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2010, cat. no. 9.

Note: Lacquer spoons of the Song dynasty are extremely rare and the present example is special for its fashioning of an elegant curve that creates an ‘S’ shape. Spoons of this type were much valued for their use in the tea ceremony. It is reminiscent of a gilded bronze spoon, excavated in 1988 from a tomb dated to the Northern Song period, in Wuli Chong, Hefei, Anhui province, as mentioned by Peter Lam in Layered Beauty, Hong Kong, 2010, p. 34.

See a Han dynasty red lacquer spoon of similar ‘S’ form, that possibly served as inspiration to later spoons, illustrated in Im Zeichen des Drachen, Munchen, 2007, pl. 11, in the Linden Museum Stuttgart; and a black lacquer spoon with a straight handle, also of the Han dynasty, included in the exhibition Toyo no urushi kogei, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, 1977, cat. no. 415.

Sotheby's. The Baoyizhai Collection of Chinese Lacquer, Part 1, Hong Kong | 08 avr. 2014