Lot 1862. A rare and exquisitely carved Ming polychrome lacquer domed peach-shaped box and cover, Jiajing period (1522-1566); 8 5/8 in. (21.9 cm.) diam. Estimate HKD 1,500,000 - HKD 2,000,000. Price realised HKD 1,580,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2010
The domed cover surmounted by a central 'flaming pearl' surrounded by four ruyi heads, carved around the steep sides with a contorted five-clawed dragon and a phoenix, their scales and feathers finely detailed using the layers of green, brown and red lacquer, all on a ground of ruyi clouds and swirling waves crashing against jagged rocky outcrops, the underside of the box detailed with a scene depicting three boys at play variously holding a flag, a vase and a hobby horse in a fenced garden within a border of cash coins interspersed by shaped panels of geometric motifs running around the side of the box, Japanese wood box.
Note: This rare form of box can be seen in another closely comparable three-colour Jiajing-marked peach-shaped box and cover decorated with two phoenix chasing a 'flaming pearl' exhibited at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000 Years of Lacquer, 1993, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 55 where it is noted that the peach form is synonymous with longevity and would therefore have particularly appealed to the Jiajing Emperor's obsession with the quest for immortality. Similar carving, particularly in the rendering of the phoenix, can be found on a Jiajing-marked compressed box and cover in Palace Museum, Beijing illustrated in Gugong Bowu Yuancang diaoqi, Beijing, 1985, no. 181; and on a Jiajing domed jar and cover exhibited by the Tokugawa and Nezu Museums, 1984, Carved Lacquer and illustrated in the catalogue, p. 131, no. 188.
Christie's. The Imperial Sale Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 31 May 2010 - Sale 2811