A tall 19th century Chinese cylindrical shaped antique lamp decorated with a gilded Shi Shi. The Shi Shi or Fo lion, well painted in bright polychrome enamels. The lion with a small cub and crouching defensively on a rocky ledge. The word "Shi" in Chinese, translates as lion. In the ancient symbolism of Chinese Buddhist decorative art, the Shi Shi symbolise “guardians of the Buddhist doctrine”.
The ledge overlooking a colourful peony garden, with the flowers supported on bamboo frames, the flowers in pale pink and burnt orange with foliage in dark green enamels. The rim of the lamp painted with a dark cobalt blue band of “thunder cloud fret”. This ancient decorative device represents clouds and rolling thunder, the pattern symbolizes life giving rain and abundance.
In Chinese decorative art, lions are intended to reflect the emotion of the animal as opposed to the reality of the lion. This is in distinct opposition to the traditional Western lion which is a life-like depiction of the animal. The claws, teeth and eyes of the Chinese lion represent power.
The Western style lion shows its power through its life-like characteristics. The Chinese lion through its stylized representation. The lion is regarded in China as the defender of justice and the guardian of sacred buildings, a symbol of power, success, nobility and strength.
This cylinder shape is known in Chinese as a "Yi Tong" shape which translates as ‘being straight’. It is also an early Chinese pun on dishonest officials. Unlike other curvaceous, more sensual shapes, the Yi Tong is a clean, cylindrical silhouette.
The lamp seated in the original, 19th century, patinated bronze base. The three feet of the base, cast as Ruyi sceptre heads. The lamp shown with a pleated, navy blue, silk shade suggestion.
Tongzhi Emperor - Circa 1870
Overall height (including shades) 25"/64cm approx
Lamps shipped to the US and UK are wired to US and UK specifications
The lamp shade shown is for photography purposes only.