Lot 143. A very rare pair of Imperial carved three-colour lacquer vases, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Each 29cm (11 1/2in) high. Estimate: HK$500,000 - HK$800,000. Sold for HK$ 813,125 (€ 92,569) inc. premium. © Bonhams 2001-2019
Each of quatrefoil section, the lobed body rising from a splayed foot and surmounted by a long flaring neck, each lobe finely carved through the red and green layers against the yellow-ochre ground with a scene of immortals accompanied by young attendants carrying auspicious objects including lingzhi, peaches, corals, ruyi, peonies, vases and gourds, within panels surrounded by peony scrolls, the neck bordered with a band of upright archaic plantain leaves above a floral scroll on the shoulders, all between two huiwen bands encircling the lobed mouth rim and foot rim, the interior and base black lacquered.
Provenance: An English private collection
Note: Lacquer production reached its peak during the Qianlong period. This was also due to the emperor's intervention by ordering ivory craftsmen from Canton to Beijing in order to revive the technique used in Ming lacquer carvings. The emperor further commissioned the Imperial Workshop in Suzhou to develop new forms and designs. The three-colour layered lacquer carving, ticai, which can be seen on the rare pair of vases, was popular during the late Ming dynasty and revived during the Qianlong reign, see Yang Boda, 'The Study of Qing Dynasty Suzhou Lacquerware based on Imperial Workshop Archives', Wenwu, vol.2, 1982.
Compare with a vase of quatrefoil form, but in red lacquer only, Qianlong, illustrated in Masterpieces of Chinese Carved Lacquer Ware in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1971, pl.32; compare also with another red lacquer vase and stand carved with similar scenes, Qianlong, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, (acc.no.904-1873).
A large carved polychrome lacquer vase, Qianlong, was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7 April 2015, lot 3735; and another example was sold at Christie's New York, 19 March 2009, lot 592.
Bonhams. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 28 May 2019, 15:30 HKT, Hong Kong, Admiralty