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Asian Lacquer

Exhibition objects

Asian Lacquer

Masterpieces from the Florence and Herbert Irving Collection

November 3, 2007–May 11, 2008

Lacquer, a sap that is a natural plastic, has served as an artistic medium in China, Korea, and Japan for millennia. Lacquer is used for painting and is combined with gold, mother-of-pearl, and other materials. In addition, layers of lacquer can be carved to create wondrous patterns or engaging figural scenes. Ranging in size from small boxes for incense to larger containers for sake, and in date from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century, the exquisite works in this exhibition also have cultural significance related to the art of writing or historical and literary themes.