chi dragons flank top below upper crossbar; central carved panel of four pairs of Mandarin ducks, a pair in flight

Towel Rack, early 18th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

Huanghuali hardwoodexpand_more

Gift of Ruth and Bruce Daytonexpand_more  96.120.6

Sets of bedroom furniture, including towel racks, wash basin stands, storage trunks, dressing tables, mirror stands, and canopy beds were standard items in an aristocratic woman’s dowry (gifts a bride’s family contributed to her marriage). This freestanding hardwood towel rack, which exhibits exceptionally refined work, is the only example of this type known to exist. The top rail is decorated at each end with lingzhi motifs, the fungus of immortality. Both sides of the central panel feature exquisitely carved scenes of mandarin ducks in lotus ponds. The presence of these ducks, which mate for life, suggests a wish for a long, happy marital union.

Details
Title
Towel Rack
Role
Artist
Accession Number
96.120.6
Curator Approved

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chi dragons flank top below upper crossbar; central carved panel of four pairs of Mandarin ducks, a pair in flight