Vase with decoration of rocks, flowers, and butterflies
Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Kangxi period (1662–1722)
Black lacquer over porcelain, inlaid with mother-of-pearl
H. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm); Diam. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Purchase by subscription, 1879
Not on view
The decorating of porcelain with lacquer and mother-of-pearl exemplifies the inventiveness of Chinese art from the mid-seventeenth to the early eighteenth century. Although the vase is not marked, the shape is common among works produced during the reign of the Kangxi emperor. However, it is not clear if the lacquer and pearl shell were added when the vase was made or slightly later. Vases with this type of decoration are found in some numbers in Europe, where they are often known as laques burgautés,a term that was coined by nineteenth-century French specialists in porcelain and that is frequently, and incorrectly, used to describe works in lacquer with mother-of-pearl decoration.
Samuel Putnam Avery Sr. , New York (until 1879)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Mother-of-Pearl: A Tradition in Asian Lacquer," December 2, 2006–April 1, 2007.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China," August 26, 2017–January 6, 2019.