The playful scene carved to reveal the different layers of coloured lacquer is characteristic of early Wanli carved lacquer and closely follows the style of Jiajing polychrome lacquer designs. See a Jiajing mark and period dish illustrating a street vendor surrounded by eight children at play, the well similarly carved with dragons but with the five claws remaining intact, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Wang Shixiang, Ancient Chinese Lacquer, Beijing, 1987, pl. 63.
This dish also illustrates the close correspondence between craftsmen working in a variety of media; compare, for example, a slightly larger wucai porcelain dish decorated with a similar composition of Shoulao in a landscape, but surrounded by the Eight Immortals and ruyi clouds supporting shou characters around the well, sold in these rooms, 27th April 1999, lot 414.
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