CATALOGUE NUMBER 0077
FAMILLE VERTE SQUARE-SECTION VASE
KANGXI PERIOD (1661-1722)
Height: 19 ¼ inches
The Chinese Porcelain Company, Ltd., New York, 1995
A tall, squared vase with short cylindrical neck rising to the flared mouth. Decorated in gilt and famille verte enamels over a clear glaze. Painted on either side with a leaf-form and a different geometric-form panel containing various beasts, fish or fowl, all reserved on a stippled green ground and surrounded by lush flowering branches and fluttering butterflies. The shoulders decorated with further blossoms and butterflies. The neck decorated with four blue and gilt archaic bronze vessels. The base underglazed with a central square glazed recess.
Narrative: The upper panel of the first side depicts the legend of the dragon pursuing the flaming pearl, which has been variously interpreted as the sun, the moon, or the "pearl of potentiality." The lower panel represents a carp, which in keeping with the dragon theme as Yellow River carps were said to make their way up stream and get transformed into dragons after passing the rapids of the Lung-Men. Both the carp and the dragon symbolize continuous striving and determination. The second side is painted with a group of flying cranes and a deer. Both of these creatures are well-known Chinese emblems of longevity. A brilliant phoenix and a unicorn decorate the third side, both symbols of illustrious offspring and good omens for the begetting of children. The Chinese unicorn is also known to be the most noble of creatures and is the emblem of perfect good (Williams, 1941, p.415). Finally, the fourth side depicts a predatory bird and a fox. The bird symbolizes boldness and keen vision while the fox symbolizes legendary cunning.