Carved Chinese Cinnabar Vase

Published September 19th, 2016 by Unknown

Highlighted in our upcoming September 21st auction, is this remarkable antique Carved Chinese cinnabar lacquered form vase.

“Although lacquer is used in many Asian cultures, the art of carving lacquer is unique to China. Lacquer is the resin (or sap) of a family of trees (rhus verniciflua) found throughout southern China. It is an amazing material that hardens when exposed to oxygen and becomes a natural plastic that is resistant to water and can withstand heat and certain acids. Known in China during the late Neolithic period (ca. 5000–ca. 2000 B.C.), lacquer was an important artistic medium from the sixth century B.C. to the second century A.D. and was often colored with minerals such as carbon (black), orpiment (yellow), and cinnabar (red) and used to paint the surfaces of sculptures and vessels. There is little evidence for the use of lacquer in China from the second to the eighth century: eighth- to tenth-century examples are often beautifully constructed but with simple shapes and little or no decoration. In the twelfth century, however, a new class of luxury lacquer objects—carved lacquer—appeared. Carved lacquer, which is predominantly red, is often known as “cinnabar” lacquer, a reference to the use of this powdered mercury sulphide as the primary colorant.”


DESCRIPTION: A carved cinnabar vase featuring renderings of traditional Chinese village scenes of figures backed by an array of cherry blossoms and mountainous landscape backdrops. Finished with embossed floral decoration and traditional Chinese patterns. Finished with reticulated wooden base with floral motif.

CIRCA: 19th-20th Ct.


DIMENSIONS:(With Base) H:19.25″ L:5.5″ (Without Base) H:17.25″ L:6″

CONDITION: Minor age appropriate wear. See lot description for details on item condition. More detailed condition requests can be obtained via email ( or SMS (305) 333-4134. Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Akiba Antiques shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.”

This piece will be featured in our upcoming September 21st auction as lot number 238 on the following bidding platforms:, and

For telephone and absentee bidding, email us at, call us at 305-632-5563, or visit our website for instructions.

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