Lot 36. A cinnabar lacquer 'dragons' quatrelobed box and cover, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Estimate HK$ 250,000 - 350,000 (€30,000 - 42,000)© Bonhams 2001-2016

Of quatrefoil shape, finely carved on the cover with three five-clawed dragons in flight chasing a flaming pearl above turbulent waves, framed within a key-fret and leaf lappet border, the body further carved with the Eight Treasures in relief emerging from raging waves, all bordered by key-fret scrolls at the rim and foot, the interior and base lacquered black. 20cm (7 7/8in) wide (2).

ProvenanceA German private collection

PublishedP.Frick, Chinesische Lackkunst: Eine Deutsche Privatsammlung, Muenster, 2010, p.104, no.53

ExhibitedMuseum of Lacquer Art, Muenster, Chinesische Lackkunst. Eine Deutsche Privatsammlung, 30 May - 29 August 2010
Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, Lack - Meisterwerke Chinesischer Handwerkskunst des 12. bis 18. Jahrhunderts, 19 May - 29 August 2011
Museum of Asian Art, Berlin, In Lack Getränkt. Eine Deutsche Privatsammlung Chinesischer Lackkunst, 5 October 2012 - 13 January 2013


Notes: The form and design of the present box and cover can be seen in lacquer boxes and covers from the National Palace Museum, Taipei: for examples of similar shape, Qianlong marks and of the period, see Lin Mun-lee, Carving the Subtle Radiance of Colors: Treasured Lacquerware in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1997, pp.122-123, nos.110-113; and for examples with similar design of three-dragon pursuing the flaming pearl amongst intricately carved crashing waves, see a quatralobed petal shaped box and cover, and also a rectangular box and cover, both with Qianlong marks and of the period, illustrated in ibid., pp.133-134, nos.132 and 134.

The design of the present box and cover unusually comprises the motif of the 'Eight Treasures', babao (八寶) subtly carved amidst the turbulent waves; for examples of lacquer boxes and covers, Qianlong marks and of the period, also carved with the Eight Treasures motif, from the Qing Court Collection, see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 2006, nos.7, 8 and 61.