Exhibitions/ Art Object

Box with “Peach Blossom Grotto”

Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
17th century
Black lacquer with mother-of-pearl inlay
H. 3 in. (7.6 cm); W. 9 in. (22.9 cm); L. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2006
Accession Number:
2006.181a, b
Not on view
Three Chinese characters incised on a rectangular piece of pearl shell at the upper left identify the scene on the lid of this box as the “peach blossom grotto” (tao yu dong). The phrase refers to a famous poem by Tao Qian (365–427) that describes the travels of a fisherman who enters such a grotto and stumbles upon a paradisiacal Shangri-La. As is invariably the case with such magical realms,
he is never able to return once he leaves.
Private collection , Japan (sold in the1990s, through Mayuyama, Tokyo, to Kaikodo) ; [ Kaikodo LLC , New York; 1990s–2006; sold to MMA]
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