Tea-Bowl Stand with Phoenixes
Period: Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Yongle period (1403–24)
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)
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