A cinnabar lacquer table inlaid with Jade

朱漆嵌玉桌

Qianlong period, 1736-1795, China

清乾隆 1736-1795 中國

Height: 86 cm, 33.9 inches

高86釐米

The cinnabar table is carved in high-relief, and is a superb example of Qing taste in elaborately decorated furniture. Its top is incised in a wan diaper ground, through to a black layer beneath, and this design is framed by a narrow key-fret border; the sides – and the corner brackets on each leg are carved with lotus flowers and leaves, whilst the supporting waist is decorated with a fret border. The lingzhi-shaped apron below is densely carved with lingzhi-head clouds, and this design continues down and around each square leg. Both apron and legs are further embellished by inlaid white jade bats, shou medallions, and chimes.

The combination of decorative motifs result in a highly auspicious piece of furniture – since bats, shou and lingzhi are symbolic, respectively, of good fortune, longevity, and the fulfilment of all wishes. Precious materials were often applied to Qing lacquer furniture, however, jade inlay is unusual.

Provenance

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Similar Examples

The complete collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Furniture of Ming and Qing Dynasties (II), no. 54, The Commercial Press (Hong Kong) Ltd., 2002 – plate 107 illustrates a long, carved, red lacquer table decorated with dragons and cloud designs, Qianlong; plate 135 illustrates a red sandalwood painting table decorated with bat and cloud patterns, also Qianlong.

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