A large cloisonné enamel "Buddhist-Symbol", Bajixiang moon flask
Qianlong (1736-1795)


18 1/4 inches high 


The elegant form decorated on a turquoise-blue ground with a formalized multi-headed floral scrolling ground covering the entire body and neck and with the eight Buddhist symbols, bajixiang, four to each side, scattered on the body, the mouth and foot with a gilt copper edge and the neck with gilt-bronze chilong-form descending dragon handles


For a slightly larger example decorated with peony and chrysanthemum sprays and with similar gilt-bronze handles of descending dragons at the neck and with an identical treatment of the mouth and foot, see Christopher Bruckner, Chinese Imperial Patronage, Treasures From Temples and Palaces, London, 1999, pp. 68-69, no. 20

For a full description of the symbols see Therese Tse Bartholomew, Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2006, p. 185, no.7.18, where it is noted that "At first the symbols did not possess a specific order, but by the Qianlong period had become codified in the following order:
wheel, connch, canopy (standard of victory), parasol, lotus blossom, vase, twin fish and endless knot". Our vessels symbols follow the same strict guidelines.