Circular Box

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 1522-1566
Carved red lacquer on wood core
H x W x D: 9.6 x 24.7 x 24.7 cm (3 3/4 x 9 3/4 x 9 3/4 in)
China, possibly Yunnan province
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Container, Lacquer


China, chrysanthemum, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)
Provenance research underway.

The chrysanthemum scrolls on this box were carved with the knife held obliquely to the surface, a technique that produces a sharp edge to each of the motifs. This method of carving is characteristic of sixteenth-century work. The somewhat "smoky," blackish tinge of the red lacquer is another feature associated with this period, as is the dense design. These elements correspond to a group of works traditionally described as "Yunnan wares." The first mention of Yunnan Province as a place of lacquer manufacture is found in a Ming-dynasty text, but to date, no compelling historical verification has been found to corroborate this statement.

Published References
  • Lee Yu-kuan. Oriental Lacquer Art., 1st ed. New York. p. 208.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 180, p. 271.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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