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Potted Landscape with Orchids and Peonies

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Period: Guangxu reign (1875–1908), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Medium: Ceramic pot in famille rose, gilt copper, jade, agate, tourmaline, jadeite, amber
Dimensions: Overall height: 61 cm; pot height: 2 cm; pot diameter: 18 cm

 The cylindrical pot has a pair of handles shaped in the traditional animal-mask style (shoutou) with rings. The archaic pattern of a stylized mythological creature (called qiequ wen, a hooked S-shape) decorates the upper and lower edges of the pot. The exterior is painted with eight Buddhist symbols and an interlocking floral pattern. The featured flower is the white orchid, which is surrounded by peonies. Orchids and peonies were popular in floral decorations during the period when Cixi dominated state affairs. This potted landscape was presented by high ranking ministers during one of her birthday celebrations.

English editing by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

 

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