隋至唐初 陶龜硯 "Inkstone" and Cover in the Shape of a Turtle
Sui (581–618)–Tang (618–907) dynasty
ca. 6th–7th century
H. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm); W. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm); L. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm)
Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 2003
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 207
Turtles and tortoises, symbols of longevity and endurance, have long been associated with divination in ancient China. Here, the shell is engraved with the eight trigrams (bagua) used in Daoist cosmology, which became increasingly important during the Sui and Tang dynasties.