A Pair of famille verte porcelain openwork lanterns

Late Kangxi to Yongzheng period 1st half of the 18th century China.

Height 29 x Width 13 x Length 13cm; 11.4 x 5.11 x 5.11 inches
最大高度:29 x 寬: 13 x 長:13釐米

This pair of octagonal porcelain lanterns are in mirror image, each made in two parts with a flared square sectioned crenelated mouth and matching base. The lanterns are embellished with repeating open work designs of interlocking coins, mirrored L shaped geometric openings, and flower petals painted in cold gold, between panels painted and richly decorated with flowering foliage, stylised cloud motifs, scrolling leaf motifs, and a brocade pattern inset with butterflies and a myriad of flowers. To the centre of each of the lanterns four main faces, are four circular medallions depicting different scenes of single figures in outdoor settings. two set against the back drop of a pine tree, the other a willow and the last amidst crashing waves. The first of these shows a man seated atop a rock in the accompaniment of a goose. The second illustrates a man looking over his shoulder with his left finger extended as if in conversation with an individual beyond the frame of this scene. This is followed by the third roundel where a robed man is seen to be carrying a zither (gu qin); an instrument that marks his status as a scholar or literati. For the fourth roundel, a man with a bald crown is observed to be holding a millet in his left hand with his right finger raised in contemplation.

Clad in a long green top and red bottom, this image of him standing atop a sea of waves suggests that he might be an immortal. In all, considering that lanterns have long been associated with wealth and status, it is possible that these too, are symbols of longevity and fortune; evidenced by the interlocking-coin patterns and “shou” characters.

Similar Examples

Gorer and Blacker, Chinese Porcelain and Hard Stones, Plate CCIX; Leonard Gow Collection, Plate LXXXIV

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