Art/ Collection/ Art Object

清 琥珀東方朔偷桃擺件
Dongfang Shuo stealing peaches of longevity

Period:
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Culture:
China
Medium:
Amber
Dimensions:
H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); W. 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
Classification:
Amber
Credit Line:
Bequest of Edmund C. Converse, 1921
Accession Number:
21.175.121
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 222
Dongfang Shuo was an official at the court of Han Emperor Wu (r. 141–87 B.C.) known for his quick wit and humorous quips. He has become a legendary figure in Chinese art: one finds his image in ceramics, hardstone carvings, lacquer, painting, and textiles. Here, he is depicted as a long-bearded old man running away from the garden of the Queen Mother of the West, a Chinese goddess. He carries on his shoulders the peaches he has stolen, which are said to have the magic power to extend life.
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