Title:Cosmetic Case and Mirror StandArtist:Artist UnknownDate:early 17th centuryCreation Place:Asia, ChinaCredit Line:Gift of Ruth and Bruce DaytonAccession Number:94.8a-r
Distinguished by its imposing size, this spectacular mirror stand demonstrates the decorative tradition of Ming style furniture. The back simulates a five-panel screen of the type used as the backdrop for thrones. The panels each have dragon-head terminals and their openwork carving is decorated with sinuous dragons and phoenixes amid clouds. The drawers are embellished with auspicious flowers and phoenixes while the railing posts terminate in dragons and lotus blossoms. A round mirror would have been supported on the s-shaped easel whose central openwork panel displays a four-clawed, horned dragon. Extensive use of highly detailed imperial imagery in aristocratic huang-hua-li furniture is rare, and it may be that this exceptional dressing table cabinet once belonged to a woman of the royal household. The chest is fitted with five deep drawers made entirely of huang-hua-li. They would have provided ample storage for hairpins, combs, and cosmetics.