Ming Dynasty, 16th Century
Weight: 132 grams
The bronze ladle handle is cast in the shape of a thin bamboo reed, with silver inlay on the nodes and gilding along the joints. Gilt bamboo leaves flank the back of the ladle, issuing a cluster of lingzhis finely enhanced with silver inlay. The base of the handle has a six-character mark incised in archaic script that reads 雲間[ 北] 背竹石芝 “Amidst clouds I carry bamboos, rocks and lingzhi on my back”. The clouds allude to the steam that surfaces from the ladle when it is filled with hot liquid.
The bronze is patinated to a deep caramel tone.
A parcel-gilt ladle example is published in Arts From the Scholar’s Studio, Hong Kong,1986, p. 232-233, Catalogue No. 220.