Exhibitions/ Art Object

元 黑漆嵌螺鈿梅鵲紋八方盤
Dish with Flowering Plum and Birds

Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
14th century
Black lacquer with mother-of-pearl inlay
H. 1/8 in. (.3 cm); Diam.11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving, in honor of James C. Y. Watt, 2011
Accession Number:
Not on view
Flowering plums and birds, possibly magpies, a popular theme in the paining and poetry of the Southern Song dynasty (1279–1368), were understood as harbingers of spring, because the plum is one of the first blossoms to appear as winter ends. This depiction of plum blossoms, which range from buds to full blooms, derives from the influential Manual of Plum Blossom Likeness (Meihua xishen pu), written by the artist Song Boren in the mid-thirteenth century, which discusses and illustrates the different stages in the life of this delicate flower.
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