Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Section of a Clapper (Paiban)

Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
early 15th century
W. 1 5/16 in. (3.4 cm); L. 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm); D. 1/4 in. (0.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2003
Accession Number:
Not on view
In continuous use since the Tang dynasty, the paiban usually comprises two to six slabs of wood strung together at one end with a cord. It is held vertically and clapped to keep time. Here, a beautifully decorated single length of ivory preserves traces of its original red pigment. Red-colored ivory clappers are known in literature of the Northern Song dynasty (11th century).
A. W. Bahr Collection ; [ Robert H. Ellsworth , New York, until 2003; to Christie's] ; sale, Christie's, New York , March 26, 2003, lot 1; to MMA
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Defining Yongle, Imperial Art in Early Fifteenth-Century China," April 1, 2005–July 10, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Extravagant Display: Chinese Art in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," December 14, 2010–May 1, 2011.

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