This rare elegant shaped vase has a spreading neck decorated with flowers issuing from rockwork above a cracked-ice border, a continuous scene below of Shou Lao and his deer and two children accompanying through a rocky landscape, with a poetic inscription to shoulder.
Condition: The top rim shaved and reglazed.
The inscription reads:
How beautiful the song in Juqing Hall and the flower blossom outside
No other vase of this rare shape appears to exist in the Shunzhi period.
The deer that frequently accompanies Shou Lao is associated with long life and remains important in the practice of Chinese traditional medicine. In fact large quantities of hartshorn are still consumed for medicinal purposes, keeping the deer and it’s reputed life-giving benefits alive in the consciousness of the people.
The children who often play alongside Shou Lao are no less important members of his longevity Troupe. They are typically pictured engaging in various traditional amusements, but at least two of them can always be seen carrying a succulent peach. The peach a Taoist symbol of immortality as well as a symbol of marriage, is one of Shou Lao’s most important props. In fact according to legend, he himself originally issued from this fruit. Today the association of the peach with longevity remains strong, and the fruit is often still presented as a gift on those occasions when it is felicitous to convey wishes for a long life.