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Lot 2103. A very rare mallow-shaped black lacquer dish, Song dynasty (960-1279); 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm.) wideEstimate HKD 100,000 - HKD 150,000Price realised HKD 740,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2008

The cavetto formed with seven overlapping S-shaped petals encircling the slightly sunken central medallion, the exterior of conforming floral shape, raised on a short foot ring, the base impressed with a square sealmark in red lacquer, against an attractive brownish-black lacquer covering the entire dish, the mouth bound with a metal rim, box.

ExhibitedThe Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, 1990, Dragon and Phoenix, Chinese Lacquer Ware, The Lee Family Collection, Catalogue, no. 16
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990/91
The Shoto Museum of Art, Shibuya, Japan, 1991, Chinese Lacquerware, Catalogue, no. 4

Note: Whilst red lacquer dishes of this mallow-shape are known, black lacquer examples are particularly rare. The S-shaped overlap of the bow-edged petals on this dish creates an elegant form that also became popular on fine metalwork and imperial ceramics in the Northern Song dynasty. A similar dish also bound with a metal rim, slightly larger at 15.5 cm. wide, was included in the exhibition, Carving the Subtle Radiance of Colors, Treasured Lacquerware in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2007, and illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 1. The National Palace Museum dish has an indecipherable circular red sealmark impressed on its base.

For comparable black lacquer dishes of this shape, cf. a dish without the fitted metal mouth rim, included in the exhibition, 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, 1993, Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, illustrated in the Catalogue, p. 50, no. 18, bearing a two-character Caiji mark which the authors suggested may be the name of the shop where the dish was sold or the name of the owner; and a dish sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29/30 April 2001, lot 621.

Christie's. Important Chinese Lacquer Wares from the Lee Family Collection, Hong Kong, 3 December 2008