Dish with Antiquities


Not on view

The phrase inlaid into the bottom of this small dish reads “for the delectation of the jade hall” (yuntang jiawan), indicating that it was a private commission. This inscription alludes to the collection of the infamous Ming-dynasty Prime Minister Yan Song (1480–1566). Because of his greed and lack of scruples, Yan was able to amass an astonishing collection of antiquities. In an ironic transformation, he instead became known as an icon of good taste in later ages.

Dish with Antiquities, Black lacquer with mother-of-pearl inlay, China

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