About this object

A wide shallow Chinese bowl or cup, the interior glaze has the appearance of a creamy stoneware, the exterior has been covered with a cinnabar red lacquer that has a pressed pattern of repeating swastikas, punctuated by roundels containing the good luck symbol 'shou', which appear to have once been gilded. The base and lip both have borders of key motifs.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Asia: Central Asia: Tibet [China]: Ü-Tsang
  • Date made
    17th Century
  • Materials
    Metal Gilt; Porcelain; Lacquer
  • 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: Gyantse: Drongtse
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    35 mm x 112 mm; 1 3/8 in x 4 7/16 in
  • Note
    List of Curios No A42: Known to the Tibetans as Wang-kar (i.e 'cup of the time of King Wang) Believed to have been made in Tibet by Tibetans, so Palha Kusho says, as the design is Tibetan, being swastikas round the rim and another Tibetan design below. But query did Tibetans ever do this lacquer work? King Wang is said to have lived somewhat after Ralpa-chan but before Tsongkhapa. He was assassinated by Chinese, who ascertained by divination that unless this was done China would become the vassal of Tibet. This cup K. Palha obtained from the chest (Yang-ku) of valuables which used to be in the Palha house near Gyantse and was removed from it during the Tibet Expedition of 1904. This cup has been at least 300 years in the possession of the Palha family in the Yang-ku. The most valuable things are kept in the yang-ku and are not taken out. June 1917. Curator's note: Given to Bell during 1917 annual inspection tour of Gyantse and surrounding areas. Described on the museum's inventory card as imitating 'Peking lacquer'. Written by Emma Martin
  • Related people
    Charles Alfred Bell ( Collector); Palha ( gifted by)

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.


  • Mission to Lhasa 1903-1904

    Start date: 1903
    End date: 1903
    Description: The British Mission to Tibet during 1903 and 1904 was an invasion of southern Tibet by British Indian forces on the pretence of negotiating trade relations between Tibet and British India. However, this was instigated primarily in the hope of preventing the Russian Empire from interfering in Tibetan affairs and thus gaining a base in one of the buffer states surrounding British India. The expedition was led by Colonel (later Sir) Francis Younghusband. It had a damaging effect on the British reputation, many Tibetans were killed and monasteries and houses were looted and/or destroyed along the way. The 13th Dalai Lama feld Lhasa before the arrival of the expedition and Younghusband negotiated, a soon to be repelled, convention with the Tibetan government or Kashag in Lhasa that was signed in the Potala on 7 Septmber 1904.

Object view = Humanities
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