Wine ewer 彩色蝦形酒壺
Wine ewer in the shape of a crayfish
Painted with enamels and gold
Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), second half of 16th century
Height 21 cm
Place of origin:
China, Jiangxi, imperial kilns of Jingdezhen
The crayfish is perched on an inverted lotus leaf, the stalk of which forms a spout; on its back is a lotus-pod filler with a flat lid surmounted by a frog, and a stalk comprising the handle. The surface below is moulded with a design of breaking waves and a leaping carp on either side, also a crab below the handle. The piece is decorated with green, yellow, turquoise and aubergine glazes, the yellow-glazed areas being overgilt. The recessed, oval base is unglazed.
This crustacean symbolises rising in the social scale. Drinking wine poured from this ewer expresses the wish to climb quickly the rungs of the mandarin hierarchy.