Small carved box of Chinese cinnabar lacquer of great detail in the engraving with an imperial Dragon of 5 claws on flowers of peonies.
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Measures: 157x102x54mm - 6.18x4x2.12"
Material: Cinnabar lacquer and brass
Region of origin: China
Previous origin owner: French antique house.
Estimated age: 19th century, during the Qing dynasty
State: Acceptable and in use. The lid is a little displaced back probably because the axis of the hinges is bent. One of the hinges is slightly separated from the body of the box. This type of boxes was often used as a gift to fighters, soldiers and nobles by the emperor's house and the base had a brass plate with the seal of the reigning emperor, but in this case one of its previous owners has lost. You have a lack of lacquer on the lid, but they are not flashy and do not lose beauty, in the back corners and one of the legs of the dragon in the left front area, for the rest small scratches and wear of the use that can appreciate in the photos.
Carved ceramic lacquer requires a complicated manufacturing process, which usually begins with a brass or wood body. After the preparation and polishing, it is coated with several dozen layers of lacquer, reaching a total thickness of 5 to 18 millimeters. Engravers should wait for the lacquer to dry so it does not crack. Then, the hardened lacquer is cut, and the creation of "carved paintings" of landscapes, human figures, dragons, Chinese mythology, flowers and birds, which then end up drying and polishing begins. It usually takes 6-8 months to finish a piece of carved lacquer.
The ancient craft of carved lacquer originated in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The Song (960-1279) Dynasty saw the rapid development of technology. It was during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) that carved lacquer ware was introduced in Beijing, when the city was designated capital of the country attracted many craftsmen. In the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the factory Orchid, imperial lacquer workshop was created to meet the growing demand for the royal court. lacquer skilled workers from around the country gathered at the factory to compete and cooperate with each other, unique features were developed in the ceramic carved lacquer. Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) had its own imperial workshop specializing in the manufacture of carved lacquer works. The industry reached its peak during the reign of Qianlong, since the emperor was an enthusiast, who had his coffin decorated with carved lacquer. However, the industry declined in the Qing Dynasty entering the final period.
With solemn designs, calm colors and exquisitely engraved decorations, lacquer perfectly integrates the fine characteristics of lacquer and exquisite engraving ancient craft. It is endowed with supreme artistic values and is an oriental art treasure and the first exclusively owned by China.
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