This complicated decorative scheme features a stylized rock (likely intended to represent one of the famous stones from Lake Tai in southern China) against a background of peonies, a peach tree, other plants, and pheasants and sparrows. Each motif is imbued with meaning, and several represent wishes for longevity, riches, and worldly success. The lacquer was built up of red layers over yellow ones, and the artist carved to varying depths to expose the colors. An interest in bright color combinations, also found in ceramics and textiles, characterizes the art of the late Ming dynasty.
Florence and Herbert Irving , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)