Jar with Scenes of Frolicking Xingxing


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To make this vessel, a wooden form was covered with successive layers of lacquer, the clear sap of the highly toxic Rhus verniciflua tree.


This jar features a design of a monkey-like animal ladling sake into his mouth from a vessel bobbing in waves, along with others trying on sandals and crossing a river. In the 1300s, Chinese literature was a powerful source of inspiration for artistic practice in Japan, and this scene was inspired by the exploits of the mythical xingxing, a beast of ancient Chinese lore for whom people left straw sandals and wine. The xingxing would then recite the names of the ancestors of those who had left them the gifts.
Jar with Scenes of Frolicking Xingxing

Jar with Scenes of Frolicking Xingxing


Japan, Kamakura period (1185–1333)

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