A spinach-green jade double-gourd 'dragon and phoenix' vase
18th/19th century Carved vividly in high relief with a dragon and a phoenix in mutual pursuit of a flaming pearl amidst cloud scrolls encircling the vase. 17.5cm (6 7/8in) high
Provenance: Sotheby's Hong Kong, 28 April 1993, lot 573
The vase is particularly finely carved, showing true mastery both in the lively carving of the energetic dragon and in the smoothly-carved stylised archaisim of the phoenix. The dragon and the phoenix are considered the most auspicious of creatures; representing the emperor and the empress respectively, they are suggestive of high rank and power. Shown together, the dragon (龍 long) and phoenix (鳳 feng) symbolise conjugal bliss and happy omens (龍鳳呈祥 longfeng cheng xiang).