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: Three-tiered octagonal food box with peony spray and scrolls

Three-tiered octagonal food box with peony spray and scrolls

Type
Box
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 16th- first half of the 17th century
Medium
Red lacquer on wood core with incised and gold filled decoration (qiangjin)
Dimension(s)
H x W x D: 17.5 x 17.8 x 18 cm (6 7/8 x 7 x 7 1/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.376a-c
Label
The exterior of this octagonal box is decorated in the qiangjin (engraved gold) technique. In this method of embellishment, the box is repeatedly coated with layers of red lacquer. Lines are then engraved into the surface and a coat of clear lacquer is applied. While the lacquer is still sticky, gold powder or gold leaf is pressed into the lines to fill them. This decorative technique has a long history of use in China and was especially popular in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A spray of peony flowers, the "king" of flora, enlivens the top of the box and adds an allusion to nobility. The construction of the box is ingenious. A removable middle ring can be placed between the top and bottom halves to accommodate taller objects, or it can be left out and still not interrupt the box's overall design.
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Container, Lacquer
Keyword(s)
China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), peony, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)
Collection(s) Area
Chinese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum






We are excited to reopen the Freer in October 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.