Tray decorated with the Eight Immortals and Shouxing

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, late 15th-early 16th century
Black lacquer on wood core with mother of pearl inlay
H x W x D: 2.8 x 13.5 x 38.6 cm (1 1/8 x 5 5/16 x 15 3/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Container, Lacquer


China, Daoism, Eight Immortals, flute, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), mountain, phoenix, pine tree, Sau
Provenance research underway.

This tray with finely worked inlay in mother-of-pearl signifies wishes for longevity. A figure in the upper right holds open a door into a magic mountain cavern. Inside, in a paradisical setting replete with animals symbolic of long life—the crane and deer—eight immortals gather just below a seated image of the Star God of Longevity, who controls the lifespan of mortal beings. Imagery such as this was often given on the ocassion of a birthday, but the use of the motif was not restricted.

Published References
  • Arakawa Hirokazu. Raden [ Lacquer Work with Mother-of-Pearl Inlaid]. Kyoto. p. 354, pl. 49.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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