Chinese Root Wood Carving – History And Traditions

A Large Lacquered Root Wood Figure Of Damo
A Large Lacquered Root Wood Figure Of Damo

Root wood carving is a traditional craft in China, the artwork is carved out of natural tree roots, where the craftsman makes the best use of the original shape of the root. Chinese root carving has been traced back to the warring state period (474 – 221 BC.) Where talisman and horn-shaped pieces have been unearthed from ancient tombs in Hubei province.

Read moreChinese Root Wood Carving – History And Traditions

Chinese Antique Lacquer Ware

Chinese Antique Lacquer Ware

A Rare Black Lacquer Nine Dragon Dish – Crisply carved in shallow relief with a four-clawed dragon ferociously writhing amongst eight smaller dragons, all reserved on a diaper ground, the large central medallion encircled by a wide frieze of lingzhi fungus at the rim.

Ming or earlier. 27.8cm diameter.

Note: The dish with its ‘Long Jiu Zi’ (Nine Sons of the Dragon) design bears a strong similarity to a circular ink cake designed by the Ming Dynasty painter Ding Yunpeng (1547-1628), as recorded in the collection of ink designs Fangshi Mopu of 1588.

Chinese Antique Lacquer Ware


The term “lacquer” stems from the Sanskrit word laksha. Qidiao is a Chinese art form of inlaying with differently coloured lacquer and is very labour intensive. The production process is called Daioqi (carving lacquer). Cinnabar is used to describe the Chinese style of red lacquer, but cinnabar is in fact the name of a mineral, a form of mercury sulfide used to dye the lacquer, other colours can be achieved by adding minerals such as carbon to gain a black colour and orpiment for yellow, Some of the first uses for lacquer were to make clay vessels watertight and as a preserve for wood.

Read moreChinese Antique Lacquer Ware

Bronze Elephant Tripod Censer & Reticulated Cover

Bronze Elephant Tripod Censer & Reticulated Cover

Description:  Heavily cast, the censer is decorated in relief with lotus scrolls flanked by a pair of handles in the form of caparisoned elephant heads with their trunks raised, wearing beaded jewels with stone inlays, supported on three further elephant heads, their curved trunks forming the legs. The openwork cover is pierced with lotus scrolls surrounding the finial cast as a recumbent elephant, wearing inlaid beaded jewels and draped by an embroidery, carrying a treasure vase on its back.

Age: 18th century

Size: Approx 37 cm high

Interested? Contact us

Bronze Elephant Tripod Censer & Reticulated Cover

An Immensely Rare Yuan Dynasty Lacquer Scroll Tray

An Immensely Rare Yuan Dynasty Lacquer Scroll Tray

Description: 

A large Yuan cinnabar lacquer scroll tray carved against the ochre ground with a pair of long-tailed birds soaring around a central chrysanthemum bloom, each bird rendered with a short curved beak and portrayed flying swiftly with a billowing furcated tail, the scene densely adorned with further floral blooms and lush foliage.

The present piece belongs to a distinct group of carved lacquer wares known as ‘two-bird’ dishes. Although the species of birds and flowers vary from dish to dish, they are almost invariably decorated with the same compositional layout of two birds in flight amidst a floral background, while on the exterior is a band of classic scroll or ‘fragrant scroll’, xiangcao.

The subject of two birds in flight amidst flower and foliage was very popular during the Song and Yuan dynasty, and can be found most often in a circular composition as on a dish or round box, where the bodies of the birds and their long flowing tail feathers form a circular motion.

This rectangular tray is extremely rare and there does not appear to be another similar published example of this size.

Age: Yuan Dynasty

Size: Approx 35 cm long.

Interested? Contact us

An Immensely Rare Yuan Dynasty Lacquer Scroll Tray

For a smaller similar tray see Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston.

Similar decorated Yuan period pieces sold by Christie’s

 

An Exceptionally Rare Pair Of Turquoise Dayazhai Bajixiang 八吉祥 Dishes

An Exceptionally Rare Pair Of Turquoise Dayazhai Bajixiang 八吉祥 Dishes

Description: A pair of famille rose dishes decorated to the interior with a huamei bird perched on a wisteria branch, above blossoming rose branches growing to one side, all on a pale turquoise-ground. The rim decorated with the eight buddhist symbols Bajixiang 八吉祥.

Age: Late 19th century

Size: Approx 27 cm wide.

Interested? Contact us

An Exceptionally Rare Pair Of Turquoise Dayazhai Bajixiang 八吉祥 Dishes

Daoguang Famille Rose Four Gentlemen (四君子) Bowl

Daoguang Famille Rose Lingzhi Bowl

Description: The Four Gentlemen (四君子) famille rose bowl, finely decorated with four panels of plumb branches, chrysanthemums, bamboo and lingzhi and orchids and lingzhi. Each separated by lines of poetry. The scalloped rim is highlighted in gilt. Daoguang six character seal mark in iron red and of the period.

The Four Gentlemen have been depicted in Chinese painting for more than a thousand years because of their refined beauty, as well as the moral characters with which the Chinese literati have imbued them.

Age: Daoguang

Size: Approx 13 cm wide.

Interested? Contact us

Daoguang Famille Rose Lingzhi Bowl