Eyeglasses Case with Bamboo on Fretwork Background
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Silk and metallic thread embroidery on silk gauze
Overall: 5 3/4 x 2 in. (14.6 x 5.1 cm)
Bequest of William Christian Paul, 1929
Not on view
Bamboo, a favorite subject in Chinese art, is seen here on a typically Chinese background. The fretwork incorporates the broken cross, or swastika—an ancient symbol in Asia that is associated in China with the character wan, which denotes the number ten thousand and symbolizes longevity. The incorporation of the symbol into an unending pattern emphasizes its meaning.
Small overall geometric patterns were commonly mentioned in texts of the Song dynasty (960–1279), and "endless wan," the pattern of connected swastikas, attained dominance by the end of the Ming (1368–1644).
William Christian Paul , the Bronx, NY (until d. 1929)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan I," March 1, 2003–September 21, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Textiles," July 23, 2005–October 29, 2005.