Fair Highlight — The Gallery by SOIL


Gan Erke (b. 1955)
A red-gold patterned xipi-lacquer grand plum vase
Natural lacquer, ramie, ancient tile ash, mineral pigments, and gold foil
H. 42.6 x D. 20 cm
The Gallery by SOIL, Hong Kong

A Meiping, meaning plum vase is a type of Chinese pottery vase inspired by the shape of a young female body. The meiping was often a tall celadon vase made to resemble human characteristics, especially a small mouth, a short, narrow neck, a plump bosom, and a concave belly. It was designed to support a single plum tree bloom branch, hence the meaning of its name. During the Song and Ming Dynasties, the meiping was very popular. It was originally used as a wine vessel, but it became popular as a plum vase during the Song Dynasty.

“Xipi” is one of the decoration techniques in Chinese art of lacquer which is also known as ‘rhinoceros skin’. The patterns are created through a thick layer of lacquer which is manipulated into an uneven surface. Thin layers of multicoloured layers will then be applied to the surface. After repeating polishing, the desired fluid patterns will be revealed. The best xipi-Lacquer piece is usually bright in colour, smooth, tender and plump when it is touched by hand. The surface of this vase is painted with red-gold-patterned xipi-lacquer, with the raw materials made of coral, gold and other fine powders, forming such gorgeous, bright and dazzling colours. The interior of the vase is well polished with black lacquer, as black as mysterious jade, which allows light to be discerned.