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An rare pair of Cinnabar Lacquer 'Ribbon-tied' boxes. Qing dynasty, Qianlong period. photo courtesy Sotheby's

each imitating two bound books enclosed by a cover, with the shorter sides of the boxes with finely carved and painted wood simulating the pages of the books carried within, each concealing two drawers, the covers intricately carved overall with small octagonal panels framing bats alternating with flowers around a central flower or shou character, carved in high relief and painted in trompe l'oeil with a black lacquer brocade-like ribbon rising from beneath the box and tied on the top in a thick bow, all raised on a low pedestal base supported on double scroll feet decorated with key-fret and lotus lappet bands, the base and interior lacquered black (6); height 8 5/8 in., 21.8 cm; width 10 3/4 in., 27.3 cm. Estimate 40,000—60,000 USD. Lot Sold 182,500 USD

NOTE: It is rare to find a lacquer box of this design made with the combination of painted and carved lacquer and shaped as if tied with a ribbon. A similar box but with a carved green lacquer ribbon, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 23rd October 2005, lot 394.

Sotheby's. Fine Ceramics and works of Art. 15 Sept 2010. New York www.sothebys.com