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Date Made/Found: 1700s
Maker: Unknown
Material and Medium: Ivory
Dimensions: Overall: 40 x 62mm (1 9/16 x 2 7/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2007.342
This small round box has faint traces of seal vermilion inside, which proves that it originally served as a container for seal paste. It is decorated with a scene of ornamental rocks and bamboo surrounding a banana plantation beneath which sits a scholar. The suggestion of a garden or landscape symbolises the ideal retreat of the educated man. The rocks are a feature of traditional gardens, where they were carefully placed to form a miniature version of a craggy mountain landscape. Originally, such rocks were quarried from Lake Tai in eastern China, where geology had scoured out rocks to form fantastical shapes pierced with holes. Exceptional rocks were the subject of connoisseurship, and were bought by collectors.
Display Location: In Store
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