Pen tray depicting the Seven Sages of the Bamboo GroveOn display
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Pen tray depicting the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove
Date2nd half of the 16th century - 1st half of the 17th century
Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644)
Material and technique
wood, covered in yellow lacquer, and with decoration carved through red lacquer
Dimensions12.5 x 38.2 x 2.5 cm (height x width x depth)
No. of items
Presented by E. H. North, 1964.
Museum locationSecond floor | Gallery 38 | China from AD 800
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Carved lacquer pen tray, showing the sages in the bamboo grove. These men are an historic group, often used in decoration. The upper layer is of red lacquer carved down to a yellow background.
In: Impey, O. R., and M. Tregear, Oriental Lacquer: Chinese and Japanese Lacquer from the Ashmolean Museum Collections (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1983)
Glossary of terms
Chinese and Japanese lacquer is made from the sap of the lacquer tree, which is indigenous to Eastern China. It is applied to wood as a varnish or for decorative effect. In India and the Middle East, lacquer is made from the deposit of the lac insect.
Impey, O. R., and M. Tregear, Oriental Lacquer: Chinese and Japanese Lacquer from the Ashmolean Museum Collections (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1983), no. 6 a on p. ix, illus. p. 6