11 5/8 in. x 5 1/4 in. x 4 1/4 in. (29.53 cm x 13.34 cm x 10.8 cm)
Medium and Support:
Gift of the Estate of William Francis McCall, Jr., by exchange
Currently On View
The form of the present vase is quite unusual and most likely derived from a traditional ancient bronze vessel shape. The combination of a Chinese form with Chinese iconography done in a polychrome palette favored by the west typifies the early phase of trade with the east before western forms and subject matter dominate. The distinctive form of the vase makes it unlikely that it ever formed part of a garniture as the applied handles and swelling form do not lend themselves to working well with other shapes to form a cohesive group. The fabulous beasts represented are the mythycal Chinese animals known as kylin or unicorns. They are one of the four great mythical animals of China and symbolize longevity, grandeur, felicity and illustrious offspring. Such beasts were recorded to have great benevolence and goodwill toward all creatures, and their kind disposition emanated through the glorious colors of their coats.