A cinnabar lacquer tray
Ming dynasty, early 16th century, China
Diameter: 19cm, 7.5 inches
The octagonal lobed tray has inward sloping sides carved on both the inside and outside with six groups of flowering plants amongst leaves, all supported on a similarly shaped short foot rim. The interior base depicts the main picture, where a scholar holding a ruyi sceptre is accompanied by his attendant who holds a Qin musical instrument, they approach a pavilion via a small bridge in a landscape of rocks, trees, and a distant pavilion, all beneath a pine tree whose needles spiral in a clock wise direction characteristic of early 16th century workmanship.