元 剔紅綬帶秋葵紋漆盤 Dish with long-tailed birds and hollyhock
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Carved red lacquer
H. 1/8 in. (0.3 cm); Diam. 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm)
Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving, in honor of James C. Y. Watt, 2011
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 221
Several features help date this remarkable dish to the fourteenth century. Two birds circle one another playfully in a composition suited to the circular shape. The lush hollyhock blossoms, shown from multiple perspectives, have petals of different sizes that overlap to suggest depth. Long, narrow leaves fill at least three layers of carving, adding to the richness of the surface. The unworked dark background seen here is more commonly found in earlier carved lacquers.