Rice measure with Daoist deities, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), Jiajing period (1522–66), 16th century. Carved red, green, and black lacquer. H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); W. 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm); D. 12 7/8 in. (32.7 cm). John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913, 13.100.140 © 2000–2016 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This vessel’s shape identifies it as a rare example of a lacquer rice measure. Adorning each of its sides is a Daoist figure in a landscape. The man riding a black ox is Laozi (ca. sixth century B.C.), the reputed author of the Daode jing (The Classic of the Way and Its Virtue) and one of the seminal deities in the Daoist religion. The other three figures, as yet unidentified, are attended by animals: a dragon, a dog, and a goat.