Lot 228. A rare pair of polychrome lacquer incense stands (xiangji), 17th century; Height 37 1/2 in., 95.2 cm; Diameter 18 in., 45.8 cm. Estimate 80,000 — 120,000 USD. Lot sold 87,500 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
the eight-lobed top with a leafy peony scroll centering on a single large bloom well-painted in shades of green and red, and gilt, the molded edge with an archaistic scroll, repeated on the recessed waist, above a flared conforming bracket-lobed apron of conforming shape encircled with a continuous foliate scroll above a black and gilt triangular pattern band, continuing onto the eight double-cushioned cabriole legs with fluttering bats and scattered flowers, all joined by archaistic scroll openwork tapering spandrels, terminating in outscrolled black and gilt acanthus-leaf form feet, all raised on a stretcher of matching foliate form painted with further bats above bracket feet, all reserved on a rich russet orange ground (2).
Provenance: A. & J. Speelman Ltd., London.
Pelham Galleries Ltd., London, 2000.
Note: Incense stands such as the present example were used both in religious as well as secular contexts as contemporaneous paintings and prints illustrate. Often positioned in the center of a room, such stands supporting incense burners were designed with great attention to detail and form, pleasing to the eye from any angle. Round stands were particularly attractive and exuded solidity and grace. The form is discussed in Sarah Handler, Austere Luminosity of Chinese Classical Furniture, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2001, pp. 295-302.
Similar lobed and red-ground polychrome lacquer incense stands are illustrated in Zhongguo zhu mu ya jiao qi quanji 5 : Jia Ju [The Complete Collection of Chinese Bamboo, Wood, Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Volume 5: Furniture]. Bejing, 2009, nos. 108 and 109. A black and gilt example from the Qing Court Collection is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (I), Hong Kong, 2002, no. 169.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Works of Art, New York, 17-18 march 2015