Stationery Tray, late 18th century. Jichimu hardwood and white brass. H.3-1/4 x W.9-3/4 x D.9-3/4 in. Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton 2000.156.2 ©2014 Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
Made from Jichimu (chicken feather) hardwood, this square stationary tray typifies the trend toward increasingly elaborate forms during the eighteenth century. The decoration of the pierced sides is a recurring pattern of scrolling foliage repeated on each side with a central lotus in the middle flanked on either side by stylized dragons. Trays such as this held all sorts of materials used by scholars and were common accoutrements of the writing desk.