The present brush washer, exceptional for both its impressive size and superbly carved details, is a testament to the skill of the master jade carvers working during the reign of the Qianlong emperor. It would, even at the time, have been of considerable importance, and would no doubt have been made for an individual of high rank.
The imagery found in the design is especially auspicious, with numerous blessings and wishes conveyed for the owner. The bat (fu) and peach (tao) together form the rebus shoutao, or 'May you possess both blessings and longevity', a wish doubled by the addition of the second bat. This wish is further strengthened by the addition of the wan emblem, which together with the bat forms the rebus wanfu, or 'May you have ten thousand blessings.' The lingzhi fungus on which one of the bats is borne is also a pun for ling, or intelligence, perhaps suggesting that the present brush washer was destined for the table of a refined scholar.
Compare another large (15.2 cm. diam.) Qianlong period white jade peach-form brush washer, also carved with two bats, from the Di Portanova Collection, sold in these rooms, 20 October 2000, lot 102.