Round box with dragon and flower

Decorations carved in relief and countersunk decoration carved in black and tan intaglio. The box bears a mark on the base.

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, Wanli reign, 1590s
Carved red, black, and yellow lacquer (ticai) on wood core
H x W: 13.2 x 32.3 cm (5 3/16 x 12 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Container, Lacquer


China, cloud, dragon, flower, inscription, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), Wanli reign (1573 - 1620), wave

From at least 1950 to 1953
F. Low-Beer & Co., New York, N.Y., from at least March 1950 [1]

From 1953
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Fritz Low-Beer (1906-1976) on March 23, 1953 [2]


[1] See the document confirming the examination of the object and acquisition approval by the Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, the Commission of Fine Arts, and Katherine Rhoades in March 1950, copy in object file. The box was published and illustrated by Low-Beer in 1952, see Fritz Low-Beer, “Chinese Lacquer of the Middle and Late Ming period,” Bulletin of Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 24 (1952), p. 34, pl. 21.

[2] See Fritz Low-Beer & Co.’s invoice, dated to March 23, 1953, where the object is listed as “Circular box and cover, carved red lacquer. Decoration of 2 five-clawed dragons, waves, flames, clouds, rocks and floral scraps. Wanli mark and period,” copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Fritz Low-Beer 1906-1976


Decorations carved in relief and countersunk decoration carved in black and tan intaglio. The box bears a mark on the base.


Incised inscription on the base reads "Ta Ming Wan-li nien chih."


The box bears a mark on the base dating it to the Wanli reign of the Ming dynasty.

Published References
  • Fritz Low-Beer. Chinese Lacquer of the Middle and Late Ming Period. no. 24 Stockholm. p. 34, pl. 21.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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