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Carved Red Lacquer Brush Holder with a Man Watching Geese

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Period: Jiaqing reign (1796-1820), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: lacquer
Dimensions: height: 14.8 cm, mouth diameter: 10.2 cm

The brush holder has a rimmed mouth, a flat bottom, and a separate stand. The exterior is carved with landscape motifs including mountains, rivers, buildings, figures, and trees. In the design, an old man in a pavilion is watching geese swimming in a pond. On the bridge, two men are walking. A page following them holds a qin zither. Such a scene suggests that the two men are bringing a musical instrument to visit their friends. Compositionally, although many objects are included in the design, they are well arranged. The scene is peaceful and remote. The artist applies various background patterns to differentiate spaces. The black-lacquered bottom bears a four-character Jiaqing reign mark.   
  This carved lacquer is the only one with a Jiaqing reign mark in the Palace Museum collection. It has a thick lacquer finish, brilliant colors, and intricate carvings that are clear and forceful. The carving and style of the patterns continues the characteristics of lacquer ware of the Qianlong reign (1736-1795) and thus is valuable for research on the development of post-Qianlong lacquer carving and the style and characteristics of the Jiaqing reign.

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