Vase with Immortals Offering the Peaches of Longevity

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Kangxi period (1662–1722)

Culture: China

Medium: Porcelain painted with overglaze enamels

Dimensions: H. 29 in. (73.7 cm); W. 8 in. (20.3 cm); Diam. of rim: 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm); Diam. of foot: 6 in. (15.2 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913

Accession Number: 14.40.331


A group of men and their attendants burn incense in an open pavilion. Their activities have attracted the attention of the supernatural: a peacock-like phoenix of enormous size has landed, while in the clouds, Xiwangmu (the queen mother of the west) and her entourage have arrived. An attendant proffers a bowl containing peaches of immortality picked from Xiwangmu's orchard. Immortal beings, including Shoulao (the god of longevity), are depicted on the neck of the vase.

Works such as this, with scenes of immortals and themes of immortality, were especially appropriate for display at birthday receptions.