Chinese porcelain underglaze blue brushpot, bitong, of cylindrical form painted with a deer and stag on a rocky promontory, looking at a pair of standing cranes on a blue-washed ground, beneath pine trees and the full-haloed moon, all in a continuous river landscape between double rings, bearing a two-character mark, shu gu, “following the ancients” and two seals, all between double rings.
7 1⁄4 inches, 18.5 cm diameter.

The unglazed base with a glazed recessed roundel with a double ring. Kangxi, 1662-1722.

  • Published by Marchant in their exhibition of The Dr. Lowell Young Collection, Ming & Qing Blue & White Porcelain, 2012, no. 27.
  • Formerly in the collection of Dr. Lowell S. Young, San Francisco, USA, collection no. 44.
  • Purchased from Barry Sainsbury, 23rd June 1991.
  • Crane, he, and deer, lu, form the rebus, “liuhe tongchun”, “the universe is enjoying longevity”. This design was particularly popular in the Qing palace from the reign of Kangxi onwards, as princely residences kept deer and cranes in their gardens in order to convey this sentiment. Together with pine, they also symbolise marital bliss.
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