The art of polychrome lacquer, ticai, reached its apex of quality in the Jiajing period. Two or more layers of coloured lacquer would be applied at differing levels to a required thickness, with the lacquer artist carving down to the different sections to expose the appropriate colours. The carver of the current dish has utilised three colours - red, yellow and green - and has achieved a sophisticated and dramatic level of colouration. The boldness and three-dimensionality of the scene, combined with the sheer intricacy of the carving of the qilin and the surrounding dragons, contribute to the overall effect. It is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of Jiajing reign-marked polychrome lacquer preserved in a private collection.
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