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What are the meanings within Zhao Zhiqian's painting?

2013-11-19 13:52:57


The Painting of Wealth, Honor and Longevity was made by renowned Chinese calligrapher Zhao Zhiqian, a seal carver and painter in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The ancient cooking vessel with two loop handles, three legs and tray are relics of the Bronze Age – four or five thousand years ago – which emblem longevity. The two were probably collected by rich people from the high social stratum, signifying wealth and honor.

Lily, persimmon, and fungus, form the auspicious words Bai Shi Ru Yi in Chinese. Lily stands for “one-hundred” since the first word of Lily in Chinese, Bai He, shares the same pronunciation with that of “one hundred” (Bai) and the first word of "persimmon" in Chinese – Shi Zi and “things” (Shi) are homophones. The fungus is shaped like the head of jade ruyi (literally means “as you wish” in Chinese), which conveys good wishes such as longevity, blessing, good fortune and prosperity.

Heavenly Bamboo is a symbol of prosperous future generations.

Pine branch implies elegance.

Wintersweet displays quietness, exquisiteness and the quality of standing the cold.

This painting embodies quite a few meanings beyond wealth, honor and longevity.

By Wen Yi