Box with Flowers and Birds
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
early 17th century
Carved red lacquer; gilded basketry panels
H. 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm); W. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm); D. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm)
Lent by Florence and Herbert Irving
Not on view
During the late Ming period, lacquer boxes with basketry panels were used for the presentation of gifts and documents and for storage. Multicolored designs enjoyed great popularity. Artists employed a wide range of colors available in lacquer and oil and juxtaposed materials of contrasting colors and textures. In the seventeenth century, rectangular boxes with straight sides gradually replaced the round-shouldered type seen here.