Chinese lacquerware table

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Chinese lacquerware table, 1425-1436 V&A Museum no. FE.6:1 to 4-1973

This lacquerware table is from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is unique in shape and decoration and is one of the most important objects from the period. It is one of the few surviving examples in the world of a major piece of furniture produced in the 'Orchard Workshop', the Imperial lacquer workshop set up in the early Ming period and situated to the north-west of the 'Forbidden City' compound in Peking (now Beijing). The table bears the mark of the reign of the Xuande Emperor(1426-35) and was probably made to stand in an Imperial Palace. An Imperial provenance is also suggested by the five-clawed dragons carved on the surface, each of which have been strangely mutilated by the removal of one claw on each foot.

The table was lent to the British Museum's 2014 exhibition Ming, 50 years that changed China.


  • Jackson, Anna (ed.) (2001). V&A: A Hundred Highlights. V&A Publications. 

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