A PAIR OF CHINESE MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID BLACK LACQUER TRAYS.
Qing Dynasty, Kangxi period.
Of square form with cut corners, inlaid in gold and mother-of-pearl to depict scholars with attendants in a rocky garden, each inlaid to the base in mother-of-pearl with a poetic inscription, one inscribed Ru Gang Ru Ling (like the topmost ridges, and the greatest bulks), the other Ru Nanshan Zhi Shou (like the age of the southern hills), 10.5cm diameter. (2)
Both the inscriptions on these two trays are lines taken from the Shi Jing (Book of Poetry), section II, Minor Odes of the Kingdom, chapter I, Decade Of Lu Ming: Tianbao. The translations given above are by James Legge. For a pair of related square dishes similarly inscribed with poetic quotes on the reverse see Layered Beauty: the Baoyizhai Collection of Chinese Lacquer, Institute of Chinese Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2010, cat no 28.