Lot 95. A very rare carved polychrome lacquer 'chrysanthemum' box and cover, Song dynasty (960-1279); 8 ¼ in. (21 cm.) diam. Estimate GBP 60,000 - GBP 80,000 (USD 76,860  - USD 102,480)Unsold. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019.

The box and cover are carved through layers of brown, yellow and red lacquer with an intricate network of chrysanthemum flowers growing from leafy stems. The cover is formed with lobed sides to accomodate the flower-form brass ring-handles applied to the long side of the inscribed Japanese box.

ProvenanceCollection of Maeyama Hisakichi (1872-1937), Tokyo Bijutsu Club, 18 February 1941, lot 136

NoteThe interior of the box is inscribed in ink, stating that the carved lacquer box was given to Nishimura Shijun by the lord of the Owari-Tokugawa Clan when he made a trip to the Nagato province. The inscription is dated to 1864 and signed by Gensensai (1833-1908), studio name Shigetsu-an IV, with seal, Soyu Bosai.

It is interesting to note that the style of carving of this box and cover is related a dish in the collection of the Tokyo National Museum, decorated to the centre with boys in a moonlit garden and encircled by a broad band of leaves and flowers, illustrated by Derek Clifford in Chinese Carved Lacquer, London, 1992, p. 27, pl. 13. Another stylistically related lacquer bowl and stand of similar carving style and dating is in the collection of the Linden Museum Stuttgart, illustrated by Klaus J. Brandt in Chinesische Lackarbeiten, Stuttgart, 1988, p. 67, fig. 21.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, London, 5 November 2019