A rare red lacquer circular dish (pan)

The dish is of wide circular form. The central field is slightly recessed, enclosed by the shallow curved well and the flat narrow rim of concave profile. The base, corresponding in size to the central field of the interior, is slightly recessed. The interior and exterior are applied with a coating of bright vermillion red lacquer, with some crinkling due to age. The base is lacquered chestnut brown, with two small maker’s or collector’s marks, one a dot in the centre, the other three dots and a stroke, near the edge. A protective copper band encircles the rim.
English private collection
Receipt dated eighth year of Showa (1926-1989), 1933
A close comparison to the present dish is one, slightly smaller but of very similar shape, though with the reverse lacquered in dark green, variously dated to the Song dynasty (Lee Yu-kuan, Oriental Lacquer Art, no. 42, pl. 104) or Southern Song to Yuan (The Colors and Forms of Song and Yuan China, no. 39).

The form exists also in silver and gold, but perhaps the most striking comparison is with certain white stoneware dishes made by the Ding kilns in Hebei in the Northern Song to Jin period. From a ceramic perspective, it is thought that the ability of the Ding potters to fire such wide flat forms successfully was due in part to their new technique, developed in the late Northern Song, of fushao, where the piece was fired upside-down on its rim. The unglazed rim resulting from this technique was then bound with metal. The existence of lacquer dishes like the present one, which may be contemporary with the Ding dishes, raises the interesting possibility that the fushao technique was developed to be able to copy them even down to the metal binding on the rim. 

Dimensions: Diameter: 28 cm, 11 inches

Date: Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), 12th or 13th century

Stock No. 2363

Price: On Request