Against all expectations, a chest in cinnabar lacquer achieved the highest bid.
China, chest in red cinnabar lacquer, carved with chimeras running through brisk waves surrounded by archaic motifs, double door, ironwork ornamented with dragons in clouds, apocryphal Qianlong mark, 34 x 36 x 28 cm (approx. 13.4 x 14.2 x 11 in).
Why are chimeras running in choppy waves, the main theme of this Chinese lacquer chest’s carved decoration? The answer is not known but the result is. Presented without a date but with a Qianlong mark on the back, even though it is indicated as apocryphal, the chest sold for €128,000, obviously creating some surprise. Lacquered objects seldom achieve six-figure results and when they do, they are usually period pieces. This lavishly decorated and carved five-drawer chest boasts beautiful fittings adorned with dragons in clouds. They underscore the quality of this item, which carries on a thousand-year-old tradition of lacquer, originally used as a protective coat before being raised to the peak of artistic perfection.