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Box with “Peach Blossom Grotto”

Period:
Yuan (1271–1368)–early Ming (1368–1644) dynasty
Date:
late 14th–mid 15th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Black lacquer with mother-of-pearl inlay
Dimensions:
H. 3 in. (7.6 cm); W. 9 in. (22.9 cm); L. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
Classification:
Lacquer
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2006
Accession Number:
2006.181a, b
  • Description

    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.

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