Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ming Dynasty Lacquer Tea Bowl

Tea-Bowl Stand with Phoenixes

Period: Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Yongle period (1403–24) 
Culture: China 
Medium: Carved red lacquer 
Dimensions: H. 3 in. (7.6 cm); Diam. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); Diam. of rim 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm); Diam. of foot 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm) 
Classification: Lacquer 
Credit Line: Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving 
Accession Number: L.1996.47.18

Often associated with empresses, phoenixes illustrate the addition of imperial imagery to carved lacquers made in the closing years of the reign of the Yongle emperor. 
The sharpness in the outlines and other decoration is also typical of works produced at court. 
Lacquer stands of this type were used to hold tea bowls, usually those of green or blue-and-white porcelain. 
The color contrast between stand and bowl would therefore have been quite dramatic.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

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