A Japanese lacquered metal plaque
The oval plaque is decorated with gold in slight relief takamakie on a black-lacquered ground roironuri with a portrait of the First Emperor of China Qin Shi Huangdi below the inscription Memoires sur les Chinois. The recessed reverse is inscribed Tsin-Che-Hoang-Ty, Incendiaire des Livres.
15 cm high
An old German private collection
Christiaan Jörg and Oliver Impey, Japanese Export Lacquer 1580-1850, Hotei Publishing, 2005, pl. 60, where it is mentioned that at the time of publishing the whereabouts of this piece were unknown.
This medallion belongs to series of copper lacquered plaques which are said to be commissioned in 1788 by J.F. van Reede tot de Parkerer, who was head of the Dutch Trading Commission at Deshima. These series were exclusively exported by the Dutch East Indian Company.
Dr. Christiaan Jörg divides these plaques into a possible few groups of rulers and Roman emperors, portraits of Governors-General of the Indies and, a very rare, series of Chinese emperors, statesman, philosophers and scholars.
This portrait of Qin Shi Huangdi appears to be the only one known as this series is probably the only one made. The portrait is taken from a print in the third volume of the Mémoires sur les Chinois, published in 1778, and illustrated in Christiaan Jörg and Oliver Impey, Japanese Export Lacquer 1580-1850, Hotei Publishing, 2005, pl. 61.