MING DYNASTY, 16TH TO 17TH CENTURY, ATTRIBUTED TO HU WENMING
The bronze quatrefoil ladle is cast in the form of a lingzhi, its shape contoured with silver inlay and accented on the edges with a thin layer of gilt, characteristic of Hu Wenming’s style of decoration. The interior well of the ladle reveals a shallow cast of a swirling chilong dragon also picked out in gilt while the handle is shaped after the trunk of a bamboo stalk and inlaid with silver dots accenting the details along the bamboo segment joints, with leaves extending towards the back of the ladle.
A smaller example of a similar-shaped ladle is published in Arts of the Scholar’s Studio, Hong Kong, p. 232, Catalogue No. 220.