Edo period (1615-1867), 18th century
An antique long-handle sake server decorated in hiramaki-e lacquer.
Length: 26 cm
Featured in this antique ewer are four longevity symbols that express the universal wish for a long, healthy life.
The pine tree is one of the most common symbols of longevity in East Asia. Because it remains green even in the harshest winters, it stands for resilience, endurance, and strength against adversity.
Cranes live a long time, some species as long as eighty years. In some Asian folktales, they are said to live as long as five hundred years. Cranes mate for life, and therefore symbolize harmony, a wish for a long marriage, and respect for one’s parents and ancestors.
Turtles are noted for their long lifespan. In addition, with their dome-shaped upper shell, flat lower shell, and legs in the four corners of their bodies, they were early emblems of the universe and the cardinal directions.
Bamboo is one of the most versatile and abundant materials in East Asia, eaten by both humans and animals and used to make everything from houses to paper. It remains green throughout the four seasons and therefore symbolizes long life. Because it bends rather than breaks, bamboo also represents resilience, and its simple shape, humility. According to Confucian ideology, bamboo possesses the qualities of a great scholar: humility, uprightness, the flexibility of mind, and grace.
Price: 3.000 €