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Carved mother-of-pearl shell decorated with dragon boats, 19th century

Hong Kong Maritime Museum

Hong Kong Maritime Museum

The carving of mother-of-pearl shell (pinctada maxima) was a characteristic product of the export trade. Small gaming counters were the most common products, though entire shells carved with 'exotic' scenes like this one were popular decorative items. The foreground is dominated by two dragon boats - not racing but moving towards each other being watched by people on shore, on two sampans and on the bridge over the river. Behind the bridge is the official yamen - you can see its flag - and life as usual as two boatmen bring a riverboat loaded with wine jars down river.

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Details

  • Title: Carved mother-of-pearl shell decorated with dragon boats, 19th century
  • Location Created: China
  • Physical Dimensions: Height : 31.5 cm Width : 23 cm Depth : 7.5 cm
  • Type: Carving
  • Rights: ©Hong Kong Maritime Museum
  • Medium: Mother of Pearl and wood
  • object id: HKMM2004.0060.0001

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