Octagonal Box Maker: Unknown

ca. 1571

Asian Art

Not on view

On the lid of this finely carved box are eight flying cranes and two peaches, both symbols of immortality, surrounded by a border of dragons and flowers. In each of the sixteen trapezoidal panels there is a combination of bird and intricately twined floral motifs. The background of these panels is painted in gold and outlined in silver, both of which were probably added at a later date. The footrim panels consist of mythical animals and horses flying over waves amid scrolled clouds. Octagonal boxes with high, domed-shaped lids such as this one were usually fitted with a tray for a set of cups. The themes of immortality make the piece a most suitable container for serving wine at birthday banquets. The box bears an inscription on the base stating that it was acquired by Jiang Xiazhang in the fifth year of the Longqing reign (1571).


Carved red lacquer with gold and silver pigment


10 × 11 in. (25.4 × 27.9 cm)

Credit Line

Anonymous Gift

Accession Number



Ming dynasty (1368–1644)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Said to have belonged to the Chang (Zhang) family, Chiang Hsia (Jiangxia), Hupeh (Hubei) province, China. Acquired by William Oastler (1835-1893), Angus, Scotland; sale American Art Galleries, New York, Aug 12, 1900; sold to private donor, New York, Aug 12, 1900; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1947
  • Sadako Ohki and Takeshi Watanabe, Tea Culture of Japan (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2009), 87, no. 21, ill
  • Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 286, ill
Object copyright
Additional information


Eight character inscription on base:Lung qing wu nian, Jiang Xia Zhang (possession)\r\nin cartouche: Yi ben (1571)

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