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Made by: Unknown

On view in: French Drawing Room

About this object

The vase is flattened and carved on all sides in high relief. The cover depicts a longtailed bird resembling a magpie (ziqiao, or "joy bringing") with a sprig of lingzhi (the fungus of immortality) in its beak. The base of lid and the top edge of the vase are incised with a key pattern. One side of the vase is carved with bamboo (zhu, symbolic of endurance) and lingzhi growing from pierced rockwork with a mythical phoenix (emblem of the empress and symbolic of beauty) or Argus pheasant nearby; the other side is decorated with a lotus plant, including leaf, bloom, and seed pod ("a complete union") growing from a pond, indicated by incised waves, with two Mandarin ducks (symbolic of marital bliss). The decorative scheme indicates that this object was intended perhaps as a wedding present or to express a rebus wishing for a happy marriage. The wooden base is elaborately carved with lotus seed pods, lingzhi, pomegranates (symbolic of many children), and chrysanthemum blooms (symbolic of autumn and enduring friendships), reinforcing the symbolic meaning of the vase. The manner in which the rose quartz has been carved, hollowed out, and pierced suggests a mid- to late 19th or early 20th century date.

Object name:
Made from:
Rose quartz
Made in:
Date made:
ca. 1850-1911
33 cm (13 in.)

Detailed information for this item

Catalog number:
Signature marks:
Credit line:
Bequest of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 1973