“Disk (bi(bee)) with knobs, feline, and dragon” (F1916.155) has a symbola shape or design that is recognizable and has a meaning associated with it. of a dragon and a feline, both representing good luck. The dragon and feline are depicted among curved lines meant to represent clouds. Clouds are another symbol of good fortune in Chinese arts. The function of jade disks is not entirely known, though the rarity of jade and the intricacy of the disk suggests it was an item of luxury.
“Box Decorated with Images of Spring and Longevitylong life.” (F1990.15a–e) contains images of the God of Longevity along with a deer—the symbol for success and long life. The symbol of an endless knot reiterates longevity. The clouds and dragon symbolsshapes or designs that are recognizable and have a meaning associated with them once again represent good fortune, enabling this decorative box to symbolize success and longevity. This lacquered box is thought to have been used by the Qing dynastythe last imperial dynasty of China, 1644–1911. Qianlong(chee-en-long) Emperor. The box may have been made for presenting food or may have been another ceremonial gift for a birthday or the Chinese New Year.
“Possibly Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara(ah-vuh-low-kee-taysh-vuh-ra) literally, “The Lord who Looks Down [from on High]”; the widely worshipped bodhisattva of compassion who protects and saves all beings. (Guanyin(gwahn-yin) also known as Guan-shi-yin; in Sanskrit, Avalokiteshvara, literally “The Lord who Looks Down [from on High]”; the widely worshipped bodhisattva of compassion who protects and saves all beings.) in the guise of a Buddha(bood-huh) literally, “Awakened One”; a being who has awakened to the true reality of existence and is thereby liberated from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. A Buddha teaches others the path to Enlightenment.” (F1957.25a–b) is an ivory statue of the bodhisattva(bo-dee-saht-vah) an enlightened being who chooses not to proceed to Nirvana but instead remains on earth to guide others in their paths toward enlightenment. of compassion. The figure displays the wan 卍 symbol on the chest, which, in this context, is a symbol for “countless blessings.” (Later, this symbol was appropriated for different meanings.) There is a dragon by the figure’s feet and cloud and floral patterns on the figure’s garments.
See “A Selected Illustrated Guide to Common Chinese Symbols” in the Resources section to learn more about common symbols in Chinese art.