Dish with Character for Longevity (Shou)
Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Jiajing mark and period (1522–66)
Carved red lacquer
H. 1/16 in. (0.2 cm); Diam. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving
Eight auspicious emblems, including flaming pearls, a pair of horns, and a pair of books encircle the character for longevity (shou) in thecenter of this dish; the same designs are found on the exterior. The dragons on the outer edges of the plate are all missing one claw. Five claws were understood as imperial symbols, and it is likely that the claws were removed in order to downgrade the dish for presentation to a member of the nobility or a senior official at the court.