A Chinese famille rose, iron-red and gilt octagonal box and cover with butterflies, Yongzheng


L.: 27 cm - H.: 12 cm

- Cohen & Cohen, The Elephant in the Room, Antwerp, 2019, pp. 22-23, no. 9 (dated Yongzheng/Qianlong period), sold at Bonham's, New York, Jan. 24, 2023. (link)
- Cohen & Cohen, Tiptoe Through the Tulipieres, Hong Kong, 2008, pp. 24-25, no. 17, for an identically molded octagonal box and cover dated to the Yongzheng period (1723-35) and painted with grisaille panels on dense multi-coloured cell grounds to the sides and the eight Daoist immortals to the cover centered by a yin-yang symbol.

This rare box form may have been made for the Chinese market. The central roundel on the lid is of two facing cranes in flight, one carrying the sacred fungus, lingzhi, a pun for 'may the crane and the fungus extend your years.' The crane (he) is a symbol of immortality and high rank. The crane is also a pun for 'together.' Additional meanings are associated with cranes when seen with various flowers as depicted on this piece. (See Bartholomew, 2006, 5.6.1 and 7.13.2.)

Estimate: € 3000 - € 6000