• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2238

    Masterworks of Ancient and Imperial China

    17 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 559

    A FINE WHITE JADE LINGZHI-FORM VESSEL

    18TH/19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A FINE WHITE JADE LINGZHI-FORM VESSEL
    18TH/19TH CENTURY
    Finely carved as a large lingzhi with deep sides rising from a rockwork base, with a gnarled branch bearing seven further lingzhi growing along one side towards the irregular lobed rim, the reverse with a small spray of bamboo emerging from in front of the stem of a large curled leaf, the well-polished stone of even tone with some small whitish inclusions
    4 3/16 in. (10.7 cm.) high, wood stand


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    According to Terese Tse Bartholomew in Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 2006, the combination of lingzhi and bamboo can have multiple auspicious meanings. As the lingzhi represents longevity, and bamboo (zhu) is a pun for 'congratulate,' the pair can form the rebus 'birthday greetings.' However, as the lingzhi also resembles a ruyi scepter, and bamboo can also symbolize peace (ping'an), the two together can also form the rebus ping'an ruyi, or 'may you have peace and fulfillment of all wishes.'

    Several examples of jade lingzhi-form vessels are known. One of slightly larger size, though carved on the exterior with the wufu flittering amidst smaller lingzhi sprays, from the collection of the British Rail Pension Fund, was sold Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 16 May 1989, lot 94. Two other related, though larger vessels, were sold in these rooms, 30 March 2005, lot 121, and 22 March 2007, lot 122.