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Sutra Box with Dragon

Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Yongle period (1403–24)
Culture:
China
Medium:
Red lacquer with incised decoration and gilding; damascened-brass lock and key
Dimensions:
H. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm); W. 5 in. (12.7 cm); L. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
Purchase, Sir Joseph Hotung and The Vincent Astor Foundation Gifts, 2001
Accession Number:
2001.584a–c
  • Description

    Vigorous, sinewy dragons are depicted often on works in porcelain, lacquer, and other materials from the reign of the Yongle emperor. Intended to hold a Buddhist text made in the Chinese handscroll format, elegant boxes like this one were produced both for use at the court and as diplomatic gifts, particularly to Tibet. Although carved lacquers from the period have been preserved in some number, examples decorated in the engraved and gilt technique (qiangjin) — in which a pattern carved into a lacquer surface is filled with gold or gold pigment — are rare. It is also unusual for the metalwork lock and key to have survived.

60870

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