Chinese jade brush holder, bitong, carved in high relief with a standing phoenix on rockwork, holding a flowering peony branch in its mouth, beside a naturalistic bamboo trunk with relief branches and ridged body, the stone taupe, white and mottled.

4 7⁄8 inches, 9.8 cm high.

Qianlong, 1736-1795.

Carved openwork wood stand.


Available on request.

Provenance & Additional Information

  • Published by Marchant in their 90th Anniversary Exhibition, Ninety Jades for 90 Years, 2015, no. 13, p.32-33.
  • From the collection of Anthony Evans, collection no. 216.
  • Purchased from Marchant in 1974.
  • A related holder, carved with a phoenix bird and prunus, is illustrated by Yang Boda in A Romance with Jade, from the De AnTang Collection, no. 6, p. 28, where the author also illustrates another with a chilong dragon and prunus, no. 3, p. 25; a further example with multicoloured stone, and a gnarled prunus trunk enveloped by branches and flowers, is illustrated by Robert Kleiner in Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, no. 118, p. 145; a further brush holder, carved in high relief with monkeys amongst pine on a naturalistic pine trunk, is illustrated by René-Yvon Lefebvre d’Argencé in Chinese Jade in the Avery Brundage Collection, plate LX111, pp. 140/1, where the author notes, ‘Brush holders in the shape of cylindrical tree- trunks or rocky cliffs with plants and branches of withered old trees were much in favour amongst scholars of the 18th and 19th centuries.’
  • The phoenix, feng, is a symbol of the empress and represents prosperity and great blessings. Together with the peony, it forms the rebus fugui jixiang ‘May there be wealth, rank and good fortune.’ When together with bamboo, zhu, it forms the rebus fengming zai zhu, ‘The phoenix singing among the bamboo’, which is also a symbol of peace. A phoenix and bamboo brush holder, from the Avery Brundage collection, is illustrated by Terese Tse Bartholomew in Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, no. 8.2.5, p. 232.