rounded box on a short foot; carved red, green and brown lacquer; dragons in cloud forms around base and cover with dragon at top; geometric bands

Nine Dragon Box, 18th century

Unknown artist, expand_more
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The base of this elaborately carved nine dragon box is engraved and gilded with the six-character reign mark of the Qianlong emperor. During the transitional period between the Ming and Qing dynasties (1610-1738) little or no official carved lacquer was sponsored by the court. This changed in 1739 when an official lacquer workshop was established in Suchou, and from then on a great many imperial pieces were produced. The official carved lacquers of the Qianlong reign are often distinguished by a high level of craftsmanship and a fussiness of design. This cover and box are decorated with nine five-clawed dragons cavorting in clouds in pursuit of flaming pearls. Nine was an auspicious number, and nine dragons were used throughout the Qing dynasty as an official emblem. All formal and semiformal court robes, for instance, were emblazoned with nine dragons. This presentation box is carved in the ticai technique which involves carving to various depths to expose different color layers, creating a polychrome effect. The base is incised and gilded with the six-character reign mark of the Qianlong emperor.

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Nine Dragon Box (#171)
Details
Title
Nine Dragon Box
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2001.68.14a,b
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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rounded box on a short foot; carved red, green and brown lacquer; dragons in cloud forms around base and cover with dragon at top; geometric bands