A carved black lacquer pen tray

17th century, China

Length: 31.5cm, 12.4 inches

The rectangular shape is of elongated U form on the vertical cross section, with open ends and resting on a rectangular short foot. The black lacquer is carved through to a red ground, the design depicting a single phoenix in flight with long tail feathers trailing behind, flanked by a single peony flower either side, amongst a profusion of leaves. The floral carving extends to the underside of the tray, with the side of the foot decorated with a hatched design.

The decoration is in Yuan style and the trays design is therefore a revival of this classic design.

Carbon 14 test No RCD 7300.

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