元 朱面剔犀香草紋漆盒 Incense box with “fragrant grass” design
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Carved black, red, and yellow lacquer
H. 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm); Diam. 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm)
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Not on view
Carved lacquers in which a predominant color—in this case red—is interspersed with black, yellow, and sometimes green, were common in the late thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries. The additional colors add subtlety and a richness not found in lacquer with a single-color covering produced in later periods.
This box has the signature of Yang Mao incised into the bottom. Yang worked in the fourteenth century and is one of the few lacquer artists whose name is preserved in written records. While it is not possible to be certain if Yang made this box or if the signature was added later, the quality of the lacquer used, the three different colors layered onto one another, and the depth of the carving suggest that it may have been made in his workshop.
Signature: Yang Mao zhao 楊茂造 (Made by Yang Mao, 14th century lacquer artist, called "Yomo" in Japan; signature questionable)
Edward C. Moore , New York (until d. 1891; bequeathed to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer," August 6, 2009–February 21, 2010.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Red and Black: Chinese Lacquer, 13th–16th Century," September 7, 2011–June 10, 2012.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sumptuous: East Asian Lacquer, 14th–20th Century," October 25, 2014–August 9, 2015.