Object of the Week: Bowl, Beijing, China, 1700-1899. 2010.6.19.
The cut facets on this ruby-red bowl were designed to resemble the leaves of a lotus flower. In the classical literature of Buddhist cultures, the lotus represents enlightenment, rebirth, elegance, beauty, perfection, purity, and grace. This bowl is indicative of cross-cultural influences: it is made of translucent deep, even ruby-colored glass with a technique that was mastered in Europe and brought to East Asia by traveling Jesuit scholars and the geometric cutting on the bowl originated with local craftsmen who were trained in the long tradition of hard-stone carving.