TIXI LACQUER TRAY
MING DYNASTY, 15TH-16TH CENTURY
23 cm wide
The square tray with indented corners stands on a straight foot and rises to gently rounded sides with a lipped rim. The interior and exterior of the tray are carved through the thick lacquer surface, revealing two layers of red lacquer underneath the top layer of black lacquer, with a symmetrical pommel-scroll design. The entire surface is polished to a high gloss. The black-lacquered base is left plain.
Ben Janssens Oriental Art, London
Sotheby’s, Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art,
New York, 31 March–1 April 2005, lot 221
Ben Janssens Oriental Art, TEFAF Maastricht 2020, London, 2020, p. 46
Tixi lacquer is the term used for the technique of applying multiple lacquer layers of different colours, usually black and red, which are revealed when a design is carved at an angle. The technique was employed during the Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties. The pommel-scroll motif is named after the trefoil ring-pommels of early Chinese swords. The Japanese term for this motif, guri, is commonly used in Western publications.