22 Apr 2021
May 20, 2019 - Filed under: Selling Antiques — Harriet

A Chinese Imperial Dragon throne from the Qianlong-era recently sold for £6.1 million at a London auction, five times its estimated value.

The throne was made during the reign of the Qianlong Empire who ruled between 1736 and 1795. It was known as the “Dragon Throne For The Son of Heaven” and is made from softwood coated in over a hundred layers of red, ochre and dark green lacquer.

Marco Almeida a Chinese art expert said:

“It’s very unusual to see three-coloured lacquered furniture come to market. Its usage was saved only for the most important imperial pieces.”

Lacquering was very labour intensive and required highly skilled craftsmen. It probably took between three to six months to coat the Dragon Throne.

The front panel of the throne is decorated with a five-clawed dragon in front of a sea of clouds. This dragon symbolises imperial power. Another eight dragons are depicted chasing flaming pearls that represent wisdom, prosperity and harmony.

Chinese red lacquered thrones are very rare. There is one available to see at the Beijing Palace Museum. The Dragon Throne was originally purchased in Hong Kong by an anonymous private collector. After auction fees and commissions were paid, the buyer of the Dragon Throne paid much more than the sale price of £6.1 million.

For people with more modest budgets, at Lancashire antique dealers, there are fine examples of antique dining chairs and sofas to sit on that cost considerably less than a Chinese throne.

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