Material and Medium: Ivory, bronze, enamel
Dimensions: Overall: 311 x 260 x 148mm (12 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 5 13/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2007.268
In China, these artificial plant arrangements are known as 'Landscape in a basin'. They were indicators of wealth, and could be used throughout the winter to brighten up a room.
In this basin are five narcissus bulbs in flower. Five is a lucky number, and the narcissus symbolises the arrival of good luck in the new year. Pure and clean, narcissus is thought to have a magic power that can exorcise evil, get rid of filth, and bring auspiciousness to the human world.
The basin is enamelled in a style known to collectors as 'Canton enamel'. It is decorated with 'baoxiang' flowers in the background, and in the cartouches with peach blossom, that suggest the pink cheeks of young girls and female beauty. The peach is also a symbol of longevity, and is suitable for depiction on birthday gifts.