Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644
Materials: Jade, semi-precious stones, wood
This object is an oval shaped jade tea screen inlaid with brightly colored stones to form decorative patterns. The jade is a light green and the stones range from red, green, black, orange, pink, and purple. The design is of rocks, a tree and a bird. There is also a wooden frame that fits around the edge.
The purpose of the screen, like many jade objects, is a decorative one. Of course, the screen itself had a use; it was placed upon the table to prevent drafts to the lamp stand of the tea kettle. This is a very fine piece however, in that it was made of jade and decorated. Jade was a highly sought after material because of its status symbols, and it was also believed to bring health and good luck to the owner, so its use here might have been to cleanse the tea.
More information about Chinese tea ceremonies can be found here.