Home > Collections > Collections

Jade Ewer with Carved Eight Immortals Motif

< 1 2 3 >
Period: Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Dimensions: overall height 27 cm, mouth diameter 6-7.8 cm, foot diameter 6.5 - 8.2 cm

The ewer is made of green jade and has a slender neck, round body, and ringed-foot. The knob on the cover is in the shape of the God of Longevity riding a deer, and the edge of the cover is carved with a design of a repetition of the shape of the Chinese character for “mountain” (shan, which has the shape of a trident); this design is also fond on the edge of the mouth and the foot. The body is carved in relief with a motif of the Eight Immortals, flowers, foliage, mountains, and rocks. A beast is engraved atop the handle, which in turn is considered by some scholars to be shaped like the mythical kui dragon.

  On the neck, two pentasyllabic poems are engraved in relief in the cursive script. One of the poems recounts how a jade vessel was presented to others a thousand times over; how the Peaches of Immortality are evenly colored with five hues; how riding the crane is associated with an auspicious year; and how colorful clouds float above the sea. The other describes a luxurious banquet on Jasper Lake; auspicious clouds appearing around the realm of immortals; a celebratory gathering of immortals; and wishes for a longevity of a myriad of years. Two characters reading Yongnian (lit."Eternal Years") mark the end of the poetry and serve as a signature.

  This ewer belongs to a type of jade vessel of the Ming dynasty. The design reflects influences from various artistic disciplines and expressive features, including some of Daoist origins. One of these religious features is the scene of the Eight Immortals, which is a common theme in art produced in the mid to late Ming periods. The flowers, plants, mountains, and rocks are clear and natural, while the repetitious pattern of the character for mountain (shan) around the cover, mouth, and foot reflect more of the aesthetics of Ming artists. The pentasyllabic poems engraved in the cursive script on the neck increase the significance of this ewer as a precious piece among a plethora of Ming-period works.

About the
Palace Museum