A jade carving of a gourd

18th century

The naturalistically carved gourd is encased in a network of leaves, curling tendrils and smaller gourds. A dark brown area on one side is skilfully utilized to depict a bat looking over one of the branches. The stone is of even white tone with faint areas of mottling.

6.5 cm wide

 

Provenance:

Formerly in the collection of Jan Habbema, acquired in Indonesia prior to 1936, thence by descent in the family.

Jan Habbema formed a vast collection of Chinese art whilst stationed as a high official in Bojonegoro, Indonesia, until 1936.

 

The combination of a bat, fu, and gourd, hulu, form the rebus “May you have both blessings and wealth”, fulu shuangquan. The same motif can also mean “May you have blessings and emolument for ten thousand generations”, fulu wandai, because the tendrils and vines, man, are a pun for “ten thousand”, wan.


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