Attributed to Shisou Chinese

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 213

This elegant vase has a pear-shaped body with a squarish section, supported on a short splayed foot. Two handles in the shape of animal masks are attached to the sides of its neck, which is embellished with a band of stylized dragons inlaid in silver. On both the front and reverse sides of the vase is a line of poetry by the Tang-dynasty poet Dou Chang (746–825), also inlaid in silver, which reads: Sweeping the snow to plant flowers in the spring; burning the incense to read the classics at night. On the other two sides are silver-inlaid images of an egret and a three-legged toad, which is a symbol of wealth. A two-character mark of Shisou is executed in silver inlay on the exterior of the bottom. The vase is covered with a warm brown patina that bears no trace of being buried underground. Originally, this vessel would have served as a vase for flowers or for holding tongs and spatulas for the practice of incense burning.

Vase, Attributed to Shisou (Chinese, active first half  the 17th century), Bronze, China

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