White Jade Bamboo Vase, Qing Dynasty, 18th/19th Century
Meticulously carved as a wavy bamboo shoot with concave ridges, two smaller shoots of bamboo to the left, a prunus tree to the right, and two grey mottled paradise flycatchers perched on its branches, the base with a hidden footring
height 5" — 12.6 cm.
10.9 oz. — 338 grams
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Jade vases became popular during the 18th and 19th century, and the small size and design of this example suggests that it was probably used for the scholar’s desk. All elements of this vase are highly auspicious. Bamboo and prunus are part of the scholarly theme known as the “three friends of winter.” These plants remain green during the cold months and thus became an important symbol of perseverance through harsh environments. In addition, the presence of the paradise flycatcher, which in Chinese literally translates to “coloured ribbon bird”, symbolizes longevity and enduring generations. The idea of fecundity is also represented from the growth of small bamboo shoots at the side of the vase.
Please note another white jade scholar’s vase with paradise flycatcher, albeit seated on a prunus branch, illustrated in Yang Boda’s ‘Romance with Jade from the De An Tang Collection’, Beijing: Wen Wu Publishers, 2004. Another vase with a similar rendering of bamboo is illustrated in Christie’s Hong Kong ‘Important Chinese Jades from the Personal Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman Part II’, November 27, 2007, lot 1507.
Hartman Rare Art, New York
Department: Asian Art