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Black Lacquer Book Cabinet with Mother-of-pearl Inlays and Gold Cloud-dragon Pattern

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Period: Wanli reign (1573-1620), Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Medium: black lacquer, ground mother-of-pearl, gold tracery and bronze
Dimensions: height: 173 cm, width: 157 cm, depth: 63 cm

Qing court furniture The cabinet is divided into three sections by two shelves decorated with floating clouds pattern. It is open on three sides. At either end, arched inner frames with interlocking lotus designs ornament the opening of each level. On the backboard, in gold tracery are pairs of dragons playing with a pearl among clouds. The feet of the cabinet are protected with bronze. On the reverse of the backboard carved in regular script (kai shu) is the reign mark: "Manufactured in the Wanli period of the Great Ming" (Da Ming Wanlinian zhi). Finely ground mother-of-pearl is inlaid over the black lacquer that coats the shelf.   
  The simple design allows for maximum space for books. The shelf's elaborate decorative techniques distinguish it from large-scale lacquer furniture of the Ming dynasty.

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