About this object

A large, beautifully carved red lacquer lidded, circular bowl. A large medallion on the lid shows a pavilion in a rocky landscape overlooking a lake or pond. A bridge zig-zags across the foreground. On it are five figures carrying trays of items, fruits and flowers. The carving of the lacquer and the wood is deep and of an extremely high quality. The medallion is contained within a border of repeating key designs. The sides of the lid and the bowl are decorated with eight panels each. These alternate between the Eight Buddhist Emblems and eight different views of the same foliage at different times in the year. The bowl and lid are finished inside with a black lacquer.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Asia: Eastern Asia: China: Jiangsu: Suzhou
  • Date made
    Late 18th Century
  • Materials
    Wood; Lacquer Plant
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    From the Collection of Sir Charles Bell
  • Collector
    Charles Alfred Bell
  • Place collected
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang: Shigatse
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    135 mm x 310 mm x 310 mm; 5 5/16 in x 12 3/16 in x 12 3/16 in
  • Note
    List of Curios A29:
    Per Maharaja Kumar's Chinese tutor on 24th March 1913. Circular lacquer bowl, 11 3/4" in diameter, inside measurement. This is a pair of bowls for fruit, biscuits etc., the lid forming one bowl and the base the other. The scene on the lid represents a wealthy man's summer house in spring. In the summer house the host has given the friend a plant. The friend is thanking him for it and carrying it away on his shoulder. Below, the guest's family are carrying away flowers, etc. On the sides are the eight lucky signs (ta-shi-ta-gye) and in between them are eight representations of a flowering plant, showing it at eight different seasons of the year. Only the highest or the wealthiest families in China have bowls like this. This lacquer is of the best quality, of the same quality and age as No. 43 [in private collection]. Presented to me by the Tashi Lama in 1906, said to be a present from the Emperor of China. To stop the cracks in the lacquer from becoming worse some kind of cement, says the Maharaja Kumar's Chinese tutor, should be placed, and then black varnish put over it.
  • Related people
    9th Panchen Lama (gifted); Charles Alfred Bell (Collector)

Where is this object from?

Explore related


  • List of Curios

    Bell, Charles Alfred

    Author: Bell, Charles Alfred
    Description: A typed object catalogue from Bell's handwritten notes on a wide variety of objects from his personal collection. This information often contains, the date he obtained an object, its provenance (including where and who he acquired from) and the person responsible for giving him the information. The process of writing the inventory began in December 1912 and continued until the late 1930s.

  • Tibet: Catalogue of Exhibits

    Tankard, Elaine

    Author: Tankard, Elaine
    Publisher: Liverpool Public Museums
    Date: 1953-03
    Description: Introductory essay and catalogue entries, in themes, for the 1953 exhibition; 'Tibet', held at the Walker Art Gallery.

Object view = Humanities
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