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Carved Red Lacquer Box in the Form of a Maple Leaf (Tihong fengye qiuchong tu he)

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Period: Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: red lacquer
Dimensions: overall height: 8.5 cm, mouth diameter: 13.5 cm-10.5 cm

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.   
  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. The technical virtuosity and vivid design of elements from nature make this box a masterpiece among the lacquer objects of the Qianlong period.

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