Landscape in a basinMaker:
Material and Medium: Ivory, bronze, enamel, jade, amber, quartz
Dimensions: Overall: 460 x 435 x 335mm (18 1/8 x 17 1/8 x 13 3/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2007.269
This colourful piece contains flowers and fruits made of semi-precious stones in
an ornate dish. It is an indoor version of an outdoor bonsai tree. In China, they are known as 'Landscape in a basin'. Such arrangements were indicators of wealth, and could be used throughout the winter to brighten up a room. The fruit in this basin is a kind of inedible citrus known in Chinese as 'Buddha’s hand citron' because of its shape. This fragrant plant is offered up in porcelain bowls before the shrine of the household gods at the New Year festival.
There are also camellia flowers in the basin, which represent a young woman’s beauty, as well as spring and the regeneration of another year. Finally, at the foot of the other plants grows the fungus of immortality. The whole grouping of fruit and flowers in this dish conveys the meaning: ‘Happiness, long life, wealth and spring regeneration’.