Paiban (half of a clapper), Ming dynasty (1368–1644), early 15th century
Ivory, traces of pigment; W. 1 5/16 in. (3.4 cm), L. 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm), D. 1/4 in. (0.7 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2003 (2003.166)
In continuous use since the Tang dynasty, the paiban usually comprises two to six slabs of wood strung together at one end with a cord. It is held vertically and clapped to keep time. Here, a beautifully decorated single length of ivory preserves traces of its original red pigment. Red-colored ivory clappers are known in literature of the Northern Song dynasty (11th century).