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8 janvier 2020

A rare miniature parcel-gilt silver shell-form box and cover, Tang dynasty (AD 618-907)


Lot 1465. A rare miniature parcel-gilt silver shell-form box and cover, Tang dynasty (AD 618-907); 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm.) wideEstimate USD 15,000 - USD 20,000. Price realised USD 27,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013.

The hinged box is realistically formed as a clam shell, with a pair of cranes finely engraved on one half and a pair of parrots on the other half, each pair trailing knotted cords from their beaks as they fly amidst flowering, leafy stems within a plain outer border. The two hinge mounts are decorated with a demi-floret. All the decoration is highlighted in gilding and reserved on the fine ring-matte ground, Japanese wood box .

Provenance: London Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, December 1995.

Note: Other similar miniature, parcel-gilt silver boxes of clam shape have been published, several of which include pairs of birds in the decoration. One from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, illustrated in National Treasure Collection of Rare Cultural Relics of Shaanxi Province, Shaanxi, 1998, pp. 100-1, is decorated with a pair of ducks on one half and a pair of geese with entwined necks on the other half. This same box, along with another of miniature size, also from Xi'an, decorated with a pair of ducks holding a knotted cord between them in their beaks, is illustrated by Han Wei and Christian Deydier, Ancient Chinese Gold, Paris, 2001, p. 147, pls. 359-63. Two others decorated with a pair of ducks include one illustrated in Ancient Chinese Bronze Vessels, Gilt Bronzes and Early Ceramics, Eskenazi, London, June - July 1973, no. 27; and one (3.2 cm.) illustrated by Hugh Scott, The Golden Age of Chinese Art, Vermont/Tokyo, 1966, pl. 11 (bottom), and later illustrated again in Chinesisches Gold und Silber: The Pierre Uldry Collection, Zurich, 1994, p. 168, no. 161.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of ArtNew York, 19 - 20 September 2013