Object of the Month - March 2017
VASE WITH ‘HUNDRED FLOWERS’
Jiangxi province, China
Late Qing dynasty, 19th century CE
Sir D. J. Tata Collection
Acc. No. 33.1377
The Chinese believe that when all flowers are in bloom, they augur good tidings and bring prosperity. This vase with a tall neck is covered with painted peonies, chrysanthemums, lotus, lilies, pink asters and many other flowers. Known as mille fleur in the West, this motif is known as baihuadi in Chinese, (hundred flower ground). This auspicious design was developed at the Qianlong imperial workshop to signify that the Qing empire would last as long as flowers continued to bloom, the motif flourished during the next two reigns. Though the blue seal on the base indicates that the vase was made in the Qianlong era, the piece was most probably made in the later Daoguang period, as indicated by the second character qing, which is missing a vertical stroke.