Box with Pommel Scroll
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
late 13th–14th century
Carved red and black lacquer
H.1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm); Diam. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Ubiquitous in the decoration of carved lacquer and also found in clay and metal, the design on this box was designated the “pommel scroll” as early as the Song period (960–1279), and this term is widely used in the cataloguing of lacquer. It refers to the pommel of a sword, which is an unexpected prototype for a design in another material. The Japanese term guri, or bent wheel, is also sometimes used to categorize lacquers with this design.