Inlaid lacquer dish

Inlaid lacquer dish

Qing dynasty, 18th – 19th century

Width: 4 1/8 inches, 10.5 cm
Height: 5/8 inch, 1.5 cm

A lacquered square dish with indented corners, supported on four short feet. The flat surface is decorated with an insect, possibly a cricket, perched on top of a red blossoming peony flower, issuing from a jagged rock. Each part of the decoration is carefully inlaid with finely polished stones in various colours, such as red soapstone for the peonies, brownish soapstone for the body of the insect and leaves, yellowish-green jade and well-polished mother-of-pearl for the rocks. The background, the sides and the base are covered in black lacquer.

006-Inlaid-lacquer-dish-02-fig

Fig. 1 Inlaid lacquer dish, Muwen Tang collection, Hong Kong

The technique of inlaying precious materials in lacquer, known as bai bao qian (inlays of a hundred treasures) was invented in the Ming dynasty. It became known as Zhouzhi (made by Zhou) after its famous exponent Zhou Zhu, who was active during the Jiajing period (1522 – 1566).[1] He used inlays of jade, coral, agate, tortoiseshell, and ivory in a lacquer surface to create complex, novel decorative effects. As the material is fragile and difficult to apply, extant examples are rare. A set of four Qing dynasty black lacquer dishes with inlaid soapstone and mother-of-pearl, closely comparable in size and design of flowers and insects (butterflies), is in the Muwen Tang collection (fig. 1).[2] A further comparable lacquer square inlaid dish from the collection of Sir Harry and Lady Garner, similar in size and adorned with a pavilion in a landscape, is in the British Museum.[3]

  1. Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty, the Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Shanghai, 2006, p. 238
  2. Kwan, S. Chinese Mother-of-Pearl, The Muwen Tang Collection Series 13, Muwen Tang Fine Arts Publications Ltd, Hong Kong, 2009, p. 69
  3. The British Museum online collection archive, registration number: 1974,0226.67

黑漆百寶嵌蟋蟀花石圖委角方盤
清 十八 – 十九世紀 寬:10.5 公分 高:1.5 公分

黑漆小盤,方形委角,盤面嵌硬螺鈿、壽山石等各色飾物,一褐色蟋蟀跳躍於紅色牡丹花叢間。
明代百寶嵌名匠有揚州人周翥,所製器物稱為「周製」,有名於時。沐文堂收藏一套四件黑漆百
寶嵌花蝶紋委角方盤,大英博物館藏一件山水圖委角方盤,尺寸大小均與本品類似。