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Brushpot in the Form of Bamboo Stems and a Plum Branch (Huangyangmu meizhu bitong)

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: boxwood
Dimensions: height: 15 cm, diameter: 6.1 cm

Four twisted stems of bamboo of varying thickness are joined by a branch of plum blossom to form a brushpot with four openings of different sizes. Combining different carving techniques, the artist ingeniously arranged the two plants. The tender bamboo stems and plum branch complement the strong old bamboo stem, increasing the sense of elegance. Bamboo and plum blossom were symbols of a man with noble characteristics including endurance since bamboo remains green during the cold season, and plum tree blossoms at the end of winter even before sprouting leaves.   
  This artifact with its organic shape is meant to look as if it was formed by nature. The creative integration of nature and man, using humble materials, was one of the favorite themes for scholars' desk objects. Since this brushpot can hold only a few brushes, it is considered an ornamental piece with fine design and carvings primarily for appreciation.

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