Dimensions: 6.4cm high, 18.7cm diameter
Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 17/05/1988, lot 341
Bluett & Sons, 1988
Michael H. Healy, 1990
Anthony Carter, 2015
A private Asian collection
Bluett & Sons London, 1989
Honolulu Academy of Art, 2002
China Institute of America, New York, 2005
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2006
Museum für Lackkunst, Münster, 2007
‘From Innovation to Conformity, Chinese Lacquer from the 13th to 16th centuries’, Krahl & Morgan, Bluett, London 1989, no.19.
‘Masterpieces of Chinese Lacquer from the Mike Healy Collection’, Julia White, Honolulu Academy of Art, 2006, no.20, p. 62-63
The straight-sided box well-carved with a central open peony amidst foliage and budding blossoms. The sides of the box are covered in folding leaves with peony and chrysanthemum flowers. The densely executed design and the elegant, straight sides are typical for lacquer boxes of this period. The base of the box is incised with a partially obscured six-character Yongle imperial mark.
Although cautiously dated to the Yongle period, this box demonstrates characteristics very similar to lacquer objects in the Palace Museum, Beijing, dated Yuan dynasty. In particular, the full, crowded design and ‘the tendency toward an overlapping and folded leaf design’ can also be seen on earlier Yuan period pieces. This design has important symbolic value. In Chinese art, peonies are a symbol of honour, loyalty, rank and wealth whilst chrysanthemum symbolises longevity.
 Chen Chang, ed., ‘Zhongguo qiji quanji (Lacquer Treasures from China), vol. 4: Sanguo-Yuan (Three Kingdoms-Yuan dynasty)’, Fujian, China, 1998, cat. no. 157, p. 173 and cat. No. 159, p. 175
 Julia M. White, ‘Masterpieces of Chinese Lacquer from the Mike Healy Collection’, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2002, p. 62