Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Yunnan and China
Priest’s ritual item, Tsi Li
Wood , gilt and lacquer
15 in. x 1.25 in. x .75 in.
Good structurally, wear on the upper left edge from use or storage and small chips along the lead edge.
This incised wooden tablet is an important ritual implement known as Tsi Li. It is referred to in English as a court tablet and is said to assist the priest during ritual by issuing his orders or invoking the gods. (See: The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, by Jess G. Pourett, Art Media Resources, Ltd., Chicago 2002)Large, relief-carved Chinese calligraphy fills the front of the court tablet. This calligraphy has been gilded over lacquer and stands out against a red background. The reverse of this gracefully curved esoteric item features relief carving of foliate forms.