brown lacquer with inlaid mother-of-pearl; flaring edges on a short foot; floral patterns at edges; winding river with figures, buildings, boats and bridges at center

Tray, 16th century

Unknown artist, expand_more
Not on Viewexpand_more

Suitable for use as a tray for scholar's brushes, this exquisitely crafted object has been inlaid with minute pieces of shell using the mother-of-pearl technique called luodian by the Chinese. The interior of the tray is inset with engraved pieces of mollusk shell to depict a waterside scene with groups of people standing in terraced buildings, a small procession crossing a footbridge, and a boatman poling his small craft. Such are the popular motifs embodying scholar-officials’ desire to seek spiritual freedom in the nature away from the restraining social burdens. Popular since the Tang dynasty (618-906), the mother-of-pearl technique was expanded during the Yuan (1280-1368) dynasty to include complex pictorial representation. Landscapes, birds, and flower subject matter remained popular well into the 1600s.

Details
Title
Tray
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2001.68.11
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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brown lacquer with inlaid mother-of-pearl; flaring edges on a short foot; floral patterns at edges; winding river with figures, buildings, boats and bridges at center