Exhibitions/ Art Object

清 碧玉象寶
Elephant carrying a vase

Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
18th–19th century
Jade (nephrite) inlaid with garnet
H. 4 9/16 in. (11.6 cm); W. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm); D. 2 in. (5.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Heber R. Bishop, 1902
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 222
An elephant carrying a vase was a popular decorative arts subject because of its auspicious meaning. The words for “vase” and “elephant” are homonymic with those for “peace” and “signs,” thus coinciding with a Chinese proverb: “When there is peace, there are signs” (tai ping you xiang).

The use of inlaid gems on jade was not a Chinese tradition but was inspired by Mughal jades brought to China from northern India in the eighteenth century. The garnets add not only a bright color but also an exotic appearance.
Heber R. Bishop , New York (until 1902)
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