Recumbent deer and fawn, lu, each with elaborate lingzhi-style horns, holding in their mouths a long branch of fruiting lingzhi fungus, with detailed curved spines, outlined eyes, nostrils, lips, and slight hairwork on the tails, the hooves and legs neatly tucked underneath, the stone pale celadon.

5 ⅜ inches, 13.6 cm long.

Ming/Qing, 16th/17th century.

Openwork carved wood stand with prunus and lingzhi.


Available on request.

Provenance & Additional Information

  • From the collection of a family from Lyon, France, who purchased their pieces from famous Parisian dealers between 1930 & 1950, and thence by descent.
  • A similar single deer was included by Marchant in their 80th anniversary exhibition, Chinese Jades from Han to Qing, no 57, pp. 58/9; another single deer, similarly carved, is illustrated by Brian Morgan in Naturalism & Archaism: Chinese Jades from the Kirknorton Collection, 1995, no. 39; a further example, in the Qing Court Collection, is illustrated by Zhou Nan-quan in The Complete Collection of Treasures in the Palace Museum, Jadeware (II), vol. 41, no. 210, p. 274.
  • A group of two deer with a lingzhi branch is illustrated by Zhao Gui Ling in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum, Jade, Vol. 9, Qing Dynasty, Gu Gong Inventory no. Gu 100141, no. 145, p. 157.
  • The deer, lu, is a symbol of longevity and is the companion of Shoulao, the god of longevity. It is often depicted with a branch of lingzhi fungus in its mouth and is said to be the only animal capable of finding the sacred fungus of immortality. The word for deer, lu, forms a homonym for the salary of a Chinese official, lu, and is a pun on the word wealth. Two deer form the rebus lulu shunli, ‘May all the roads be smooth’, as the word lu is also a pun for road.