G061 A 19th Century Chinese Lamp With a Springtime Message - Circa 1870

"Asleep in the spring, I missed the dawn. Until I heard the birds singing everywhere.
Wind and rain had clamored last night. How many blossoms fell during the storm?"
Meng Haoran (689-740 AD)

A delightful, 19th century, Chinese, Famille-Verte, baluster shaped antique lamp decorated in the Chinese three-colour palette of aubergine, yellow and green, known as "Sancai".  The lamp with a bright, spring-grass, lustre green ground colour. 

The lustre green ground decorated with a springtime subject of white plum blossom flowering on old wood.  The springtime composition with amusingly painted singing birds, almost cartoon-like, perched in plum blossom branches.  The decoration includes a stand of green bamboo.

Traditional Chinese decorative art is highly symbolic with messages that can be read and understood.  The language of symbols pervades all Chinese literature, painting and thought.  There are two levels of communication in China, the practical function of speech and writing and the symbolic meaning that hides just beneath the surface. 

Plum Blossom - Plum blossom is the first flower to open while the weather is still cold, making it the first flower of spring.  It represents renewal and is emblematic of perseverance and purity.  The five petals of the plum blossom are considered auspicious since the number five is sacred in China. 

The bamboo is a symbol of longevity and vitality because it can survive the hardest natural conditions and remains green all year round.  It also represents the qualities of durability, strength, flexibility and resilience since it will bend in a storm but does not break..

Much of China experiences bitterly cold winters with sub zero temperatures and the arrival of spring is eagerly anticipated.  The singing birds symbolise the joyous arrival of spring. 

When plum blossom and bamboo are depicted together it symbolises a happily married couple known as "the double happiness of bamboo and plum".  The range of symbols depicted in Chinese painting is always more than meets the eye!  This is a delightfully decorated lamp, with a message of spring time renewal. 

The lamp seated in a Chinese, square shaped stand, the lamp with a matte gold plated, drum shaped lamp cap.  The lamp base has a fine, long, glaze-depth hairline, the result of an original firing fault.  The lamp shown with a spring grass, silk shade suggestion. 

Sancai translates as “soft three colour glaze”.  Sancai is known in the West as Famille-Verte bisque ware.  The term bisque or biscuit was used to differentiate the wares enamelled directly on to the pre-fired body or ‘biscuit’, versus the wares enamelled over a clear high fired glaze which defines most Famille-Verte decorated porcelains.  Once the enamels had been applied the pieces were re-fired but at a lower heat.

Tongzhi Emperor - Circa 1870     

Overall height (including shade) 22"/56 cm approx

Lamps shipped to the US and UK are wired to US and UK specifications

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Category: 19th century antique antique lamp antique table lamp baluster shaped lamp Chinese table lamp classic lamp lamps plum blossom restored spring grass green spring time symbol table lamps traditional lamp

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