Carved lacquer box with pommel scroll design

Circular (tixi) box with domed cover; surface lacquered with nine alternating layers of red and black lacquer beginning and ending with black (in places the color is a lustrous brownish-black that appears translucent). Overall design carved with V-shaped grooves that have a slightly rounded trough (instead of a sharp point at the bottom). Cover of box decorated with a central medallion that consists of two spectacle-shaped pommel designs (jianwen) with small circle at the midpoint. Medallion surrounded by curvilinear scroll pattern (xiangcao) with bilateral projections–so called “double fish tails.” Scroll design repeats on bottom half of box. Grooved bands appear at the lips of top and bottom halves of box; bottom also has a grooved band just above the foot. Slightly concave base lacquered with black. Interior of box is black over red lacquer.

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 15th century
Medium
Lacquer over wood substrate (carved tixi lacquer)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 5.2 x 7.7 x 7.7 cm (2 1/16 x 3 1/16 x 3 1/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1995.2a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Container, Lacquer
Type

Box

Keywords
China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

From 1957
Mr. Hans W. Siegel, Ronco, Switzerland, Bangkok, Thailand, and Hong Kong, China, purchased from National Import and Export Cooperation, Canton, China, in 1957 [1]

To 1995
Andrew Kahane, Ltd. Oriental Art, New York City, acquired from Mr. Hans W. Siegel, to 1995 [2]

From 1995
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Andrew Kahane, Ltd. Oriental Art in 1995

Notes:

[1] According to a letter in the object file, Mr. Hans W. Siegel purchased this object at the 1957 autumn antique fair of the National Import and Export Cooperation (see Curatorial Note 4 in the object record).

[2] According to Curatorial Note 4 in the object record.

Previous Owner(s)

Andrew Kahane, Ltd. Oriental Art
National Import and Export Cooperation
Hans W. Siegel

Description

Circular (tixi) box with domed cover; surface lacquered with nine alternating layers of red and black lacquer beginning and ending with black (in places the color is a lustrous brownish-black that appears translucent). Overall design carved with V-shaped grooves that have a slightly rounded trough (instead of a sharp point at the bottom). Cover of box decorated with a central medallion that consists of two spectacle-shaped pommel designs (jianwen) with small circle at the midpoint. Medallion surrounded by curvilinear scroll pattern (xiangcao) with bilateral projections--so called "double fish tails." Scroll design repeats on bottom half of box. Grooved bands appear at the lips of top and bottom halves of box; bottom also has a grooved band just above the foot. Slightly concave base lacquered with black. Interior of box is black over red lacquer.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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