VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Carved Red Lacquer Box in the Form of a Maple Leaf
Carved Red Lacquer Box in the Form of a Maple Leaf
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The technical virtuosity and vivid design of elements from nature make this box a masterpiece among the lacquer objects of the Qianlong period. In the form of a maple leaf, this box is covered with red lacquer and decorated with leaf vein patterns. An autumn cicada and a katydid rest on the box lid. The interior wall has black lacquer and an inscription in regular script (kai shu), reading "Made in the Qianlong reign of the great Qing Dynasty" (daqing qianlong nian zhi). The box has a maple-leaf-shaped stand, the edges of which are decorated with wave patterns and lotus petals.

History of the Object
Craftsmen of the Qing Dynasty emphasized carving over polishing. The objects made in the Qianlong reign have outstanding carving. It was fashionable to use background patterns over the whole body without adding other decoration, or to expand the area of background patterns and shrink the flower and insect decorations. On this box, the craftsman ingeniously used leaf veins as the ground pattern and carved only two autumn insects.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Lacquer 
Measurements
Overall height: 8.5 cm, mouth diameter: 13.5 cm-10.5 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
18th Century; Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911) 
Function
decorative box 
Acquisition
Collection of the Imperial Palace 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Palace Museum, Beijing 
Museum
The Palace Museum 
Credit line
Palace Museum, Beijing 

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