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Octagonal Lacquered Box with Lid

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China Anonymous, Chinese
Octagonal Lacquered Box with Lid, 15th c.
Lacquer on Wood
7 1/4 in. x 11 in. x 11 in. (18.42 cm x 27.94 cm x 27.94 cm)


Object Type: Lacquerware
Technique: Carving
Creation Place: Asia, China
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Edward Nagel
Accession Number: 71.1.329


Commentary
In Chinese carved lacquer, a wooden vessel is coated with as many as 300 thin layers of lacquer. After the final layer is dry, the artist carves patterns into the lacquer, often revealing the many layers of lacquer underneath. This octagonal Ming dynasty (1368-1644) lacquered box is a fine example of this type of carving, which goes back to around the 12th century in China and typically features scrolling, cloud-like designs. In some cases, the layers are alternately red and black so that when the lower layers are revealed, marbled patterns emerge.

Meher McArthur, Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Curator of Academic Programs and Collections

Marks
There is a label reading "43" on the bottom.

Medium
Carved and lacquered wood.

Object Description
Octagonal box with a lid, covered in a mahogany toned lacquer on the entire interior and exterior. The exterior has a curled guri design, based on the ring-shaped sword pommel, carved into the wood in deep relief. The box narrows at the base to form a foot.

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