Incense burners of this elegant globular form, with a small flat lid, are rare and no other closely related example appears to have been published. Censers carved in openwork with complex floral designs were more commonly made in the form of covered bowls, such as one from the Qing court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum. Jade, vol. 10, Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2011, pl. 94, together with a spinach-green jade example with a tall knobbed cover, pl. 96, and a white jade one with floral handles, pl. 97; another spinach-green jade censer, also in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Jadeware III, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 40; and a slightly smaller white jade censer, from the collection of Heber R. Bishop, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accession no. 02.18.585a,b.
The floral motif on this piece bestows good fortune and wishes for longevity upon its owner: the narcissus (shuixian), the flower of good fortune and prosperity, contains in its name the character for 'immortal' (xian), and together with lingzhi, the immortality fungus, and the meandering leafy scroll, they express the wish for a long life.
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