Lot 8011. A highly important cinnabar tixi lacquer hexagonal ewer, Jiajing incised six-character mark and of the period (1522-1566). Estimate HKD 6,000,000 - HKD 8,000,000 (USD 771,984 - USD 1,029,312)Unsold. © Christies Images Ltd 2017


The ewer is elegantly formed with a pewter core, the wide body is finely carved through a thick layer of lacquer with ruyi clouds below the conforming sloping shoulder with classic scrolls, which are repeated on the arched handle and along the S-shaped spout. The interior and base are applied with a dark brown lacquer, with the reign mark incised on the base. 9 1/4 in. (23.6 cm.) high, Japanese wood box

Provenance: Sold at Christie’s London, 14 December 1983, lot 54
Sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, Important Chinese Lacquer from the Lee Family Collection3 December 2008, lot 2126

LiteratureZhongguo Meishu Qiqi Quanji, vol. 5, Ming, Fuzhou, 1995, no. 121 
Zhongguo Qiqi Jinghua, Fuzhou, 2003, no. 214

ExhibitedThe Museum of East Asian Art, Dragon and Phoenix: Chinese Lacquer Ware: The Lee Family CollectionCologne, 24 March – 24 June 1990, Catalogue, col. pl. 19, no. 13
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990/91
The Shoto Museum of Art, Chinese Lacquerware, Japan, 1991, no. 32

NoteDuring the Jiajing period, ewers appear to have been popular vessels in both lacquer and ceramic form. A related hexagonal porcelain ewer dated to the mid-16th century, decorated in the kinrande-style, is illustrated by J. Ayers, Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, vol. 1, Geneva, 1999, no. 94. However, tixi lacquer ewers of this hexagonal form are extremely rare. The present example, carved of cinnabar lacquer, appears to be unique; the only other known comparable Jiajing period ewer of this shape carved of dark-brown tixi lacquer, from the collection of Professor and Madame Robert de Strycker, was sold at Piasa, Paris, 15 December 2007, lot 56. The Paris ewer, the present ewer and a related double-gourd ewer of dark-brown tixi lacquer in the Beijing Palace Museum, each have a pewter core. The Palace Museum ewer is dated to the late Ming period and is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, Hong Kong, 2006, p. 255, no. 202 (fig. 1).


Aiguière hexagonale en laque noir et rouge sur corps en étain à décor gravé, h. 28 cm, époque Ming, période Jiajing, moitié XVIe siècle. Prix réalisé 1,62 M€ frais compris chez Piasa, Paris, 15 December 2007, lot 56. Courtesy Piasa


fig. 1. A dark-brown tixi lacquer double-gourd ewer, late Ming period. Collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing.

Christie's. Important Ming Imperial Works of Art from The Le Cong Tang Collection Evening Sale, 27 November 2017, Hong Kong