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Scholar Objects
A Pair of Lac Burgauté Wine Cups with Mother of Pearl Inlay 19th c.
This pair of Lac Burgauté wine cups is decorated with mother-of-pearl and silver inlays, depicting a scholar drinking under the moon with his attendants amid the garden with trees and rocks.

Lac Burgauté is a French term for Oriental lacquer work with mother-of-pearl inlaid decoration. It employs shaped pieces of the iridescent blue-green shell of the sea-ear (Haliotis). This shell inlay is sometimes engraved and occasionally combined with gold and silver. Workmanship is exquisite; therefore, Lac Burgauté is principally used to decorate such small-scale objects as tiny boxes, miniature table screens, vases, and especially little silver-lined wine cups.

Lac Burgauté seems to have originated in China. Archaeological excavations show that this art form was found as early as in Western Zhou dynasty. The technique was refined during Tang and Five Dynasties, and reached its peak in the Ming and Qing dynasties.