Table with Flowering Sprays
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
late 16th–early 17th century
Black lacquer inlaid with mother-of-pearl
H. 33 1/2 in. (85.1 cm); W. 79 1/2 in. (201.9 cm); D. 33 3/4 in. (85.7 cm)
Louis V. Bell Fund, 1965
Not on view
In China, mother-of-pearl was being used as early as the twelfth century to decorate furniture, including beds, chests, and tables, as well as such smaller items as garden stools. These goods were important items in the global trade from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.
The decorative elements on the top of this table consist of large pieces of relatively thick mother-of-pearl that were incised and inlaid into the lacquer-coated rosewood. They include large sprigs of tree peony interspersed with small sprays of plum and chrysanthemum and fluttering butterflies.