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Tiered Box with Figural Scene, Flowers, and Birds

Period:
Yuan (1271–1368)–early Ming (1368–1644) dynasty
Date:
late 14th–early 15th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Black lacquer with mother-of-pearl inlay
Dimensions:
H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); W. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm); D. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving
Accession Number:
L.1992.62.20
  • Description

    The density of the composition on the lid of this box is typical of works of the late fourteenth to early fifteenth century. Representations of two girls peeking into a rustic scene (populated here by three women and two dogs) are found in at least two other works of the same period. It seems likely that the unidentified scenes illustrate a well-known moment from a literary work or play. Each panel and column of the architecture is decorated with a separate pattern, attesting to the painstaking craftsmanship involved. The sixteen cartouches on the sides contain bird-and-flower scenes.

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