A RARE TONKIN CARVED IVORY BOX WITH SILVER MOUNTS
North Vietnam, Tonkin, mid 17th century
Of rectangular shape with a domed lid and raised on a slightly protruding socle, decorated on each side with panels with birds and hares amongst Chinese plum trees with flowers and leaves, the lid decorated with two fire-spitting dragons, with traces of red lacquer all over the box.
H. 8.6 x W. 16.6 x D. 8.7 cm
The present box belongs to a small group of similarly decorated carved ivory objects, including a three-tier stacking box (Uit Verre Streken, March 2018, item 61), a mortar with pestle (Uit Verre Streken, November 2018, item 41), another mortar and pestle in the collection of the Nationalmuseet in Copenhagen (Ebc42a and b, inventoried in 1674), one more mortar and pestle in the collection of VOC Antiguidades in Porto/Portugal and a box in the Victoria & Albert Museum (inv. 2564-1856), as well as one in the collection of AR/PAB (The Art of Collecting, 2019 p. 294).
All these objects are quite distinct from other typical 17th century Chinese carved ivory objects suggesting that North Vietnam/Tonkin, once the southernmost province of China, might be the place of origin (see: Jan Veenendaal, Asian Art and the Dutch taste, page 96-97)