Archive item - not for sale
Pair of Chinese blue and white rouleau vases, Kangxi (1662-1722), decorated to the bodies with central rectangular panels containing a pair of deer beneath a pine tree and a crane perched on a branch in a rocky landscape, surrounded by panels of various shapes containing scenes of birds and flowers, traditional landscapes or precious objects; all against a scrolling lotus ground, the wide necks with key-fret pattern below a ruyi-head band.
The rouleau form was popular among Chinese potters, as the wide cylindrical shape lent itself to the skilful painting of detailed scenes, as can be seen here. The central rectangular panels are rich in the symbolism of longevity; deer are said to be the only animal able to find lingzhi, fungi of immortality, and are also a symbol of wealth as the Chinese term ‘lu’ (deer) is a homonym for an official’s salary. Pine and crane are often painted together to represent long-life, as cranes are associated with Shoulao (god of longevity) and pine is an evergreen tree with deep roots and long lifespan.