late 1300s-early 1400s
Carved cinnabar lacquer on wood
Diameter: 16.5 cm (6 1/2 in.)
John L. Severance Collection 1977.6
This lacquer dish of strikingly deep red color is decorated with a dynamically carved design of three peony blossoms. Because of the complexity in lacquer production, items are often small and were seldom made for daily use. Lacquer was traditionally made using the sap of the lacquer tree found in southern China. Many successive layers of lacquer would be applied until the surface could be carved into complex geometric or figural forms. Red became the preferred color for lacquerware carvings, in part because the color has long been associated with good fortune in China.
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