A fine carved red lacquer box and cover

Lacquer box


Ming dynasty, 16th century
Diameter: 3 1/8 in, 7.9 cm

of circular form with straight sides. The top is carved in deep relief with a scholar and two attendants in a landscape setting with rocks and trees, all against a floral diaper ground. The scholar wears long robes, tied at the waist, and a tall hat, and holds a scroll in his right hand. One attendant carries a parasol and the other a wrapped qin, and both wear tunics over trousers. The box is carved with leafy branches of camellia against the same diaper ground. The interior is lacquered black.

For similar examples, with a figural scene carved on the cover and flowers on the box, see Carving the Subtle Radiance of Colors: Treasured Lacquerware in the National Palace Museum, nos. 76 and 77, p. 88; Frick, Chinesische Lackkunst: Eine deutsche Privatsammlung, no. 22, p. 53; Garner, Chinese and Associated Lacquer from the Garner Collection, no. 50, pl. 26b; and Kopplin, Im Zeichen des Drachen: Von der Schönheit chinesischer Lacker, Hommage an Fritz Löw-Beer, no. 54, pp. 134–5.