Bamboo Figures of Two Immortals with Gourd


Qing Dynasty
Width: 16.8cm
Height: 33cm

The two figures holding the giant gourd are the two immortals very popular in folk culture known as He, ("harmony") and He ("unity"). The large gourd laced with smaller ones is a rebus of a Chinese saying, guadie mianmian ("the melon spreads in numerous vines") with the extended meaning "may you have many generations of sons and grandsons", a popular birthday gift with its symbolic good wishes. The exquisite carving and opulence in form recommend it as an exceptional work of art. The sizable piece is comparable with the "carved zhugen of Magu the Immortal presenting birthday gifts for longevity".