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Lot 75. A good imperial cinnabar lacquer 'dragon' box and cover, Mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 18.5cm., 7 1/4 in. Sold 28,800 GBP (Estimate 20,000 - 30,000 GBP). © Sotheby's. 

the straight-sided circular box and cover profusely carved with three scaly five-clawed dragons in mutual pursuit of a flaming pearl, all amidst tumultuous foaming waves, the interior and base lacquered black, the interior of the cover inscribed longwen baohe, the base carved and gilt with a six-character Qianlong mark.

Note:The four-character inscription in the interior of the cover reads longwen baohe which can be translated as 'precious dragon design box'. Boxes of this type were possibly made in the Lacquer Workshop belonging to the Zaobanchu (Imperial Palace Workshop) located in the Forbidden City. The carving of the present box is deep and meticulous with the three dragons amidst waves depicted to appear ferocious and powerful.

See a box of this form from the Qing Court collection and now in the Palace Museum, Beijing, carved with three mythical sea creatures amongst similar foaming waves, illustrated in Carved Lacquer in the Palace Museum, Beijing, 1985, pl. 275; and a smaller box of this design, sold at Christie's London, 1st November 1982, lot 83.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works Of Art, London, 15 May 2007