Exhibitions/ Art Object
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元 剔黑高士圖撞盒
Tiered Box with Scholar-Official in a Landscape

Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
late 14th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Carved black lacquer on gilded ground
Dimensions:
H. 5 1/8 in. (13 cm); Diam. 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving, 2015
Accession Number:
2015.500.1.83a–d
Not on view
This unusual box is difficult to date precisely. The use of gold in the background is uncommon and suggests that the box was particularly valuable. The shallow carving of the scholar on the top and the dragons amid clouds on the sides suggests a thirteenth-century date. However, the official is wearing a rank badge on his back, a practice that did not begin until the late fourteenth century. He stands before an incense burner and may be praying to the heavens, a traditional Chinese practice.
Florence and Herbert Irving , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)
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