Chinese / Seven-lobed platter with scene of children at play / Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), 14th centuryChinese
Seven-lobed platter with scene of children at play
Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), 14th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Seven-lobed platter with scene of children at play
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1279
Creation End Date: 1368
Creation Date: Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), 14th century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Lacquers
Materials and Techniques: Carved red lacquer
Dimensions: Diam. 21 7/8 in. (55.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: L.1996.47.14
Credit Line: Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving

This large dish belongs to the class of carved lacquer known as 'renwu gushi' (narrative scenes with human figures), which, like the flower-and-bird type, had its beginning in the late Song period (960-1279). The subject depicted on this platter, children at play in a garden, follows a Song tradition. The ladies' dresses are in the style of the period, making it clear that the design derives from a Song original. This is also indicated by the figure in the lower right of a child dressed up as a gentleman at leisure, who is being helped to his feet by two other boys and followed by another holding a parasol. He sports a type of tall hat made fashionable in the Song period by Su Shi (1036-1101), the most admired poet-official of his generation and a figure beloved by Chinese poets and writers for succeeding centuries. The carving of the platter, however, is very much in the high Yuan (1279-1368) style, which began to mature only in the first half of the fourteenth century. It shows the Yuan propensity for creating three-dimensional images in the relief (with particular success in the area of the pavilion and lotus pond). Some of the objects depicted, such as the set of incense-burning utensils on the table at the lower left, also indicate a Yuan date. The size of the dish also has some bearing on its dating; there are no known lacquer or ceramic dishes of this size from the Song period, but there are a great number of large porcelain dishes dating from the fourteenth century. The pattern of cracks on the back of the platter reveals that its wooden core is constructed, as are those of all other known fourteenth-century dishes, by joining a smaller piece to the main body of the substrate with the grains of the two pieces perpendicular. This has been confirmed by radiography. The theme of children at play is expressive of the wish for offspring and the joy of having them, an idea reinforced by the presence of a pomegranate tree behind the large garden rock where children are playing hide-and-seek. The pomegranate fruit with its many seeds is frequently used as a symbol of progeny.

AMICA ID: MMA_.L.1996.47.14
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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