Tray decorated with the Eight Immortals and Shouxing

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, late 15th-early 16th century
Medium
Black lacquer on wood core with mother of pearl inlay
Dimensions
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)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1986.12
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Container, Lacquer
Type

Tray

Keywords
China, Daoism, Eight Immortals, flute, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), mountain, phoenix, pine tree, Sau, WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

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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