- Place of origin:
- Materials and Techniques:
- Credit Line:
Given by Sir Harry Garner and Lady Garner
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
China, room 44, case 2
This fine lacquer box was used in the 16th century to present edible gifts. The value and sophistication of the container were proportionate to the importance of the recipient and had special social significance. The recipient of the box would have returned it with another gift enclosed as a sign of gratitude.
The surface design of this box is known as jian huan, literally 'sword pommel rings', and was obtained by carving the alternating layers of red and black lacquer applied to the wooden base. The inside is plain so that it could accommodate different types of food.
Lacquer box carved in rounded grooves through layers of black and red lacquer down to a black ground, decorated with ruyi heads in bands of four, eight and sixteen elements on the upper part and in bands of sixteen on the lower. Scroll designs on the foot rim.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Diameter: 26.4 cm
Lacquer food box, China, Ming dynasty, ca. 1500-1600
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Rose Kerr (ed.) Chinese Art and design. The T.T.Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1991, p. 158, fig. 68
Sir Harry Garner 'Guri lacquer of the Ming dynasty', Transactions of the Oriental ceramic Society, 1957-59, vol. 31, pl. 18b
Chinese and Associated Lacquer from the Garner Collection (British Museum 02/12/1973-28/02/2010)
Labels and date
Boxes of this form were used for gifts of food. The box was not kept by the recipient, but sent back with a note of thanks.
Carved lacquer on wood
Museum no. FE.12-1974
Sir Harry Garner Gift