This vase is adorned with the auspicious motif of interlocking white chrysanthemums. The chrysanthemum is part of the Confucian motif of the “Four Gentlemen,” a quartet of plants used in Chinese painting to evoke the unfolding of the seasons throughout the year.
In literature, the flower was identified with the famous poet Tao Yuanming (365–427), who in one of his most famous poems wrote: “Picking chrysanthemum flowers by the eastern hedge, I gaze at South Mountain in the distance.” Through this poetic association, the chrysanthemum became an emblem of the fall, blooming in the chilly autumn air that heralds the coming of winter, and a symbol of the scholar’s ability to preserve moral integrity under adverse circumstances. It was also through Tao Yuanming that the chrysanthemum became a symbol of retirement from public office during times of political instability.
Porcelain with glaze and pigment
15 3/8 x 8 15/16 in. (39.1 x 22.7 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of the executors of the Estate of Colonel Michael Friedsam
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Globular Vase, 1736-1795. Porcelain with glaze and pigment, 15 3/8 x 8 15/16 in. (39.1 x 22.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the executors of the Estate of Colonel Michael Friedsam, 32.917. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 32.917_transp6283.jpg)
overall, 32.917_transp6283.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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