'Extraordinary' Chinese lacquer dish on sale at Sotheby's London auction

By BO LEUNG | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-05-08 17:47

A "magnificent and extremely rare large carved cinnabar lacquer dish" is expected to grab attention at an upcoming Sotheby's auction in London.

'Extraordinary' Chinese lacquer dish on sale at Sotheby's London auction

Sotheby's is set to auction this large carved cinnabar lacquer dish.  

The late Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) to early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) dish is likely to sell for between 400,000 and 600,000 pounds ($520,000 to$780,000) when it goes under the hammer at the auction house's Important Chinese Art sale on Wednesday.

Sotheby's described the dish as one of"the finest examples from the period when lacquer carving in China experienced its absolute peak" and noted that lacquer dishes of this size - 44.5 cm in diameter - are "incredibly rare".

Robert Bradlow, Sotheby's head of Chinese works of art, said: "A lacquer dish of this size doesn't really come up at auction. Sotheby's sold one in Paris two or three years ago and it was much smaller."

Lacquerware from this period is more rare than similar age porcelain.

"The quality of carving is just fantastic," Bradlow said."It is built layer by layer, so it is a very slow and laborious process but, with the quality in the carving and the detail, you can almost imagine these various flowers fluttering in the wind."

Unlike ceramics, which were made in an industrial process, Bradlow said the dish would have been made by an individual craftsman.

The signature of the craftsman, Zheng Cheng, is inscribed under the base of the dish.

Other pieces that may appeal to collectors of Ming Dynasty art at the auction include a pair of imperial yellow-glazed dishes, that were likely made around the time of the Ming Dynasty emperor Zhengde (1505-1521). They are likely to sell for between 50,000 pounds and 70,000 pounds. A copper-red dish from the time of Emperor Xuande, who reigned from 1426-1435, is expected to sell for between 300,000 and 400,000 pounds.

Bradlow said:"There aren't many examples of a dish in this under-glaze red; one was sold in a collection in Hong Kong, so I'm optimistic this will sell very well."

And a number of animals, birds and sea creatures carved and modeled from a variety of materials, including jade and bronze, will be auctioned at Sotheby's Menagerie, the sale of an English private collection of Chinese animal carvings.

It will include a white jade carving of "two boys clambering playfully on an elephant to symbolize happiness and good fortune", which was dated to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).


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