Superb Chinese 1000 Cranes Bamboo Brush Pot, Qing Dynasty
One of the finest carved Bamboo Brush Pots, likely from the Imperial Workshop.
Excellent overall condition, minor losses consistent with age and use, not affecting appearance or value.
We used harsh lighting to photograph the detail in the carving. In fact, there is no yellow background on the Brushpot. The entire Brushpot is an even brown color throughout, much like the individual cranes in the photos.
Measures 7-1/2" (19cm) Tall, by 6" (15cm) Wide.
Wild cranes have inspired Asian artwork and mythology for centuries, resulting in a rich tapestry of subtle meanings blended into the graceful form of the crane.
Most commonly, cranes represent good health and longevity. According to ancient belief, these long-lived cranes served as messengers for the mountain recluse-sages, and carried the Taoist immortals on their wings.
The regal, upright carriage of these elegant cranes reflects their dignified status as the noble birds most worthy of serving the ancient immortals. This association with the immortals lends to the myth of the cranes' longevity.
Besides its principle meanings of health and longevity, the crane also represents many different values for various Asian cultures. With its long, white feathers and elegant form, the crane easily symbolizes purity and cleanliness.
When ancient Chinese witnessed the beautiful spectacle of cranes flying high across the clear blue skies, they envisioned the graceful bird as soaring above the dusty world of common impurities, and ascending to the heavens on its clean, white wings. According to ancient Chinese legends, cranes were thought to be "well-behaved like gentlemen, incorruptible and naturally clean and honest."
The natural elegance of the crane's form and movements inspired the admiration of ancient cultures. As a result, they respected the crane as the undisputed leader of all the earthly birds, and a powerful symbol for many of the traits desirable in a comparably refined and noble gentleman.
According to traditional culture, the crane "has only one over him and millions under him." Although ruled by the legendary phoenix, the crane occupied a role vastly superior to all the other existing birds. This high position mirrored that of the emperor, who was ruled only by Heaven's will, and lorded over all the subjects in his empire.
To be compared to a crane, then, ranked among the highest compliments. A respected person was often called "a figure extolled by the crane"; this was commonly understood to be a refined way of praising someone for being exceptionally honest and morally upright. Likewise, someone could also be compared to "a crane standing among chickens," indicating that person's special abilities and obvious, comparative superiority.
As a result of the crane's auspicious symbol, it soon came to be associated with those gentlemen who held high and coveted positions in the government. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the highest official rank was denoted by a crane pattern on the official robe's decorative patch.
To dream of a flying crane was always considered a good omen, and was popularly interpreted as a sign that the dreamer would become a high-ranking official.
Item ID: 1304
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