Medallion with Return from a Spring Outing

Period: Ming dynasty (1368–1644)

Date: late 16th–early 17th century

Culture: China

Medium: Ivory

Dimensions: H. 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm); Diam. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)

Classification: Ivories

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.176


The richly carved scene of a scholar gentleman riding in a moonlight landscape is also found in Chinese paintings dating to the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The scholar is riding on horseback while four young attendants carry his supplies and a fifth hastens to open the gate to the family compound. The scholar gentleman is understood to be returning from a spring outing filled with wine and poetry.