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Brush Jar with an Imperial Inscription

Asian Art

This elaborately carved jade brush jar represents not the restraint usually associated with scholarly taste but the contrasting sumptuous decorative qualities of imperial taste. On the back of the jar is a poem attributed to the Qianlong Emperor (reigned 1735–1795) describing the cry of the cranes, which recalls the passage of time (cranes are a symbol of long life), and the legendary islands of the Immortals in the Eastern Sea. As much an object of display as a practical holder for brushes, the jar is carved with a scene illustrating the poem. The artisan has taken advantage of the naturally colored veins of the stone to render one pine tree in brown surrounded by white cliffs.

MEDIUM Carved jade and hardstone
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES 18th century
    DYNASTY Qing Dynasty
    PERIOD Qianlong Era
    DIMENSIONS a: 6 1/4 x 6 in. (15.8 x 15.3 cm) b: 8 1/2 x 2 9/16 x 1 1/4 in. (21.6 x 6.5 x 3.2 cm) c: 6 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 1 5/16 in. (15.9 x 13.4 x 3.3 cm) d: 11 13/16 x 1 11/16 in. (30 x 4.3 cm) e: 11 3/4 x 1 11/16 in. (29.8 x 4.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 14.301a-e
    CREDIT LINE Bequest of Robert B. Woodward
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Brush Jar with an Imperial Inscription, 18th century. Carved jade and hardstone, a: 6 1/4 x 6 in. (15.8 x 15.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Robert B. Woodward, 14.301a-e. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE group, 14.301a-e_group_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Cylindrical brush pot, containing two brushes, a ruyi scepter and a roller. A Greenish-White and Russet Jade Brush pot (Christies Title) 8/08 A Small Greenish-White Jade Hard stone Inlaid Ruyi Sceptre (Christies Title) 8/08 A Metal Mounted Hard stone and Jade Roller.(Christies Title) 8/08 A Pair of White and Green Jade Brushes. (Christies Title) 8/08 Accession card: The pot is of white jade, semi-translucent, polished, with a slightly greenish tinge and patches of brown. It is carved on the outside with a rock and wave design, also containing a bat, a crane, a peach, and pine trees, the later pierced a jour. On one side is a poem incised in the surface, the characters of which are gilded. It reads perhaps as follows: "The pines and fungus of longevity are plentiful and of beautiful color. The sound of the cranes recall the spring and fall. With happiness like that of the fairyland in the isles of the Eastern Sea we go toward the peaches of immortality." After this comes for characters: "The composition of the Emperor Ch'ien Lung." On the bottom is incised a four character Ch'ien Lung seal mark. The pot contains, set in a silk covered cardboard frame, a pair of large writing brushes (D and E) with handles of white jade carved with all-over flower designs in low relief, tipped with green jade at the ends and with the bristles set in cups of similar jade; a ju i scepter (B) of white jade decorated with a bat, peaches, and a bamboo spray, made of incrusted pieces of green jade, coral, rose, quartz, and other semi-precious stones, and a roller (C) with a green jade handle, into which is set a brass frame terminating in dragon heads, containing 6 rondles, carved with cloud patterns, and made of amethyst, agate, and other semi-precious stones. Condition: Good. Line crack from rim through cypress tree segment. Surface worn on brush handles.
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    Brush Jar with an Imperial Inscription