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Lot 3633. A carved polychrome lacquer 'dragon' octagonal dish, Mark and period of Jiajing (1522-1566); 17 cm, Japanese wood boxLot sold 630,000 HKD (Estimate : 500,000 - 700,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2022

NoteThe art of polychrome lacquer, ticai, reached its apex of quality in the Jiajing period. Two or more layers of coloured lacquer would be applied at differing levels to a required thickness, with the lacquer artist carving down to the different sections to expose the appropriate colours. The carver of the current dish has utilised three colours – red, ochre and green – and has achieved a sophisticated and dramatic level of colouration. The boldness and three-dimensionality of the scene, combined with the sheer intricacy of the carving of the dragon, contribute to the overall effect.

See a similar example illustrated in 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong and the Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1993, cat. no. 59, and a slightly larger Jiajing-marked octagonal dish, also decorated with a dragon but surmounted by a stylised shou character, the fifth claws similarly effaced, sold in our New York rooms, 15th September 2010, lot 330.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art including Jades from the De An Tang Collection and Gardens of Pleasure – Erotic Art from the Bertholet Collection, Hong Kong, 29 April 2022