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Pair of Ivory Lidded Bowls Carved with Peach and Bat Motifs

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Medium: Ivory

This pair of lidded bowls is carved from dyed ivory. The exterior wall, base, and cover of each bowl is carved in high relief with peaches amid lush leaves on dense branches and peach blossoms in full bloom or in buds. Two bats are portrayed as flying up or down next to the peaches on the outside of the bowl. While the peach is a symbol of longevity, the bat is homophonous with the word for fortune (both read as fu in Chinese). "Red bat" (hongfu) is homophonous with "vast blessings" (also hongfu), thus implying "vast blessings reach to the height of the heavens" (hongfu qitian). This pair of lidded bowls was evidently made for birthday celebration. 

Website version edited by Zhuang Ying and Adam J. Ensign

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