|Title:||four panel Chinese lacquer and hardstone screen|
|Date/Era/Period:||late 19th early 20th century|
|Description:||This is a screen brought back by my father in the 1950. He spent a lot of time in Italy and Turkey but never China. The figures on the screen are in relief. They look like they're carved out of ivory but the ivory has not yellowed. The story is getting ready for a parade with dragons, fish flags, etc.|
|Condition:||The hinges have broken off. The dull lacquer background is chipped in places near the edges.. It is still very beautiful. The reverse is painted birds and flowers.|
|Origin:||It has been in our family for fifty or sixty years.|
|Provenance:||I don't know.|
|Appraised By:||Valerie Bennett|
|History Of The Item:||This type of Chinese lacquer screen with raised hardstone inlay along with mother of pearl and ivory and colored lacquers is a very old craft in China.In the late 16th century this type of work was known as "the work of Zhou", after the supposed inventor of the technique-Zhou Zhi.It is also known as baibao kan (hundred precious things inlay).We do not know the names of the factories in China that did this type of work, but there were many of them in Beijing.We do know that these screens were made on into the 1930's in the 19th century style and it is hard to tell the later ones from the early ones because the craftsmanship is similar and the same men and their sons worked on both the earlier and later ones. I think yours is more likely to be early 20th century but it is hard to tell from photographs. The only factory we know from the early 20th century was named Zhang Gui.Your scene is probably called "scenes from the Western Paradise".|
|Appraiser Tips:||If the chips are getting worse every time the screen is moved I would recommend that you take it to a restorer and get it stablized, you do not have to go to the whole expense of having it restored but you really need to stop ot from getting worse.|
|Research Sources:||The Victoria and Albert Museum in London published a series of books covering their Asian holdings, the one on Chinese furniture has a picture of a two door cabinet with doors decorated like your screen and a frame that looks like like the frame on your panels, which they date to around 1930, which is why I think yours is also of that vintage.|
|Appraiser Comments:||If you had asked me 5 years ago to appraise your screen, I would have told you that screens were not very popular in American decorating and since your screen is not really considered antique it would be valued as used furniture, maybe in the $2,000 range. But in the subsequent 5 years the price and Chinese antiques have skyrocketed and gone out of the range of anyone but the wealthiest collectors. As a result vintage things such as your screen have also risen in value as they have been bought by newer collectors. The values I am giving you are for sale at a regional auction house on the mainland that holds well-advertised sales that are available to buyers on the internet, and at nice antique shops in large cities. I have no knowledge of the market for such items in the Virgin Islands, but I hope that this is of some help and at least a beginning to aid you in deciding what to do about the screen in the future.|
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