Qing Dynasty Lacquer Objets d'Art

Qing Dynasty Lacquer Objets d'Art


Qing Dynasty Lacquer Objets d'Art


Lacquerware are objects or works of art, which have protective layers of Chinese lacquer obtained from processed Chinese lacquer tree (aka Toxicodendron vernicifluum) sap, on their surfaces. Their production processes are very complicated, and they have the characteristics of being sturdy, durable and gorgeously-colored. The Chinese lacquerware have a long history and a great number of varieties. The first Chinese lacquer objects appeared during the Neolithic Age.

One variety is the “carved red lacquerware”. The lacquer object production technique used to produce them matured during the Song Dynasty (960–1279) and Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) and reached its height in the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1912) dynasties. This technique would often use wood ashes and metals as unfinished objects and would then apply coats of red lacquer on the objects’ surfaces. The number of lacquer layers would range from 80 or 90 to 100 or even 200, achieving a considerable thickness. When the lacquer layers were semi-dried, drawings were painted on the objects’ surfaces and the built-up lacquer would be carved into three-dimensional designs.


Black Dragon Instructing His Young lacquer plate

直徑23.7cm ,清乾隆年間

 23.7cm in diametere ,Qianlong Era (1735-1796) of Qing Dynasty


The plate’s edge is in the shape of a 6-petal lotus flower, and it is decorated with a circle of peony, chrysanthemum and plum blossom patterns. Within the circle, there is the image, which is eponymous with the plate’s theme: a black dragon instructing his son. In the image, an old dragon is flying in the air and guiding his son. Both dragons have five claws and ride on auspicious clouds. On the plate’s bottom are exquisitely carved red lacquer ocean waves. On the reverse side of the plate, there is an outer circle of entangled composite fairy floral designs. The bottom is decorated with the continuous patterns of the same designs. The advanced carving techniques are fully visible.


Children at Play lacquer plate


直徑27cm ,清代

27cm in diameter  ,Qing dynasty (1644–1912)


The plate’s edge is in the shape of a 6-petal lotus flower, which is a common feature of the Qing Dynasty lacquer plates. Inside the circle, it is the engraved theme image of “children at play”. In the image, there are mountains in a distance, clouds in the sky, floras and faunas, as well as a small bridge over a flowing stream. There are also six children playing at different locations, under the watchful eyes of an old gentleman and a middle-aged man. The engraving techniques can be seen as sturdy and vigorous.




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