WANLI MARK AND PERIOD
A related Wanli 'Hundred Deer' vase, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated in Minji meihin zuroku, vol. II, Tokyo, 1978, pl. 101; one formerly in the collection of Tamisuke Yokogawa is included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Tokyo National Museum. Chinese Ceramics, vol. II, Tokyo, 1990, pl. 330; another is published in Sekai toji zenshu, vol. 14, Tokyo, 1976, pl. 218; and a fourth example from the collection of Ernest Gandidier in the Musee Guimet, Paris, is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, vol. 7, Tokyo, 1981, col. pl. 26. See also one sold in these rooms, 10th November 2004, lot 564; and another, but without a reign mark, sold at Christie's London, 7th November 2006, lot 184.The design on this vase is rich with auspicious meaning; in Chinese tradition the deer is symbolic of longevity due to being the only animal capable of finding the lingzhi fungus of immortality, and is thus often depicted with Shoulao, the God of Longevity. 'Hundred deer' (bai lu) is homophonous with hundred emoluments and represents the wish, 'May you receive the hundred emoluments from heaven'.
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