Liverpool artwork of the day – Wednesday May 9 2007. Vase and lid – Qing dynasty (1644 – 1911), c. 1780 – 1830 – Jade (nephrite), 35.6 x 23 x 8.5cm at Lady Lever
I just love the colours!
Made from one piece of jade, this vase displays the great virtuosity achieved by the best jade-carvers of the Qing dynasty. It may even have been made for imperial use. Jade is too hard to be cut with steel tools and therefore must be ground with abrasive sands and water, down to the smallest detail, a slow and very demanding process.
In Chinese culture jade has always been more highly esteemed than gold, not only because the main source is far away in Central Asia but also because of the spiritual qualities it is believed to embody.
This vase is an altar vessel and bears around the edge of each side the eight Buddhist Auspicious Signs: (clockwise from the top) the Umbrella, the Paired Fish, the Vase, the Lotus Flower, the Conch Shell, the Endless Knot, the Banner of Victory and the Dharma Wheel (the wheel of Buddhist law, symbolizing the unity of all things).