H. 4 9/16 in. (11.6 cm); W. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm); D. 2 in. (5.1 cm)
Gift of Heber R. Bishop, 1902
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 222
An elephant carrying a vase was a popular subject in the decorative arts because of its auspicious meaning. The words “vase” and “elephant” are homonymic with “peace” and “signs,” thus coinciding with the Chinese proverb, “When there is peace, there are signs.”
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 rubies add not only a bright color but also an exotic appearance.