元 剔紅仕女嬰戲圖漆盤 Tray with Women and Boys on a Garden Terrace
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Carved red lacquer
H. 2 3/8 in. (6 cm); Diam. 21 7/8 in. (55.6 cm)
Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving, 2015
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 221
A masterpiece for its lush carving and size, this tray depicts two women and twenty-three children on a terrace near a pavilion overlooking a lotus pond. One woman is seated on an openwork seat, the other stands. She holds one child and another clutches her skirt. A third crawls toward them. One of the boys is hiding in a rock, three play in a shallow tub of water, two ride hobby horses (a toy perhaps invented in China), and several take part in a procession that likely imitates those of court officials, a common site in major Chinese cities in the fourteenth century.
Florence and Herbert Irving , New York (until 2015; donated to MMA)