Exhibitions/ Art Object
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清 碧玉象寶
Elephant carrying a vase

Period:
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Date:
18th–19th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Jade (nephrite) inlaid with garnet
Dimensions:
H. 4 9/16 in. (11.6 cm); W. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm); D. 2 in. (5.1 cm)
Classification:
Jade
Credit Line:
Gift of Heber R. Bishop, 1902
Accession Number:
02.18.740
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; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Passion for Jade: Heber Bishop and His Collection".

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Bishop Jades," March 30, 2004–February 12, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings," June 16, 2012–January 6, 2013.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings," December 11, 2013–July 6, 2014.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Passion for Jade: The Heber Bishop Collection," March 14, 2015–June 19, 2016.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Colors of the Universe: Chinese Hardstone Carvings," June 25, 2016–October 9, 2017.

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