Prunus Vase with Blue-and-White Painting of Plum Blossoms and Cranes Made in Jiajing’s Reign of Ming


These two prunus vases are well-proportioned and graceful in modeling, tender in body texture and elegant in the blue-and-white designs. The belly is embellished with the themed design "the painting of plums and cranes". In the picture, Mr. Hejing was strolling idly in the open countryside. A crane accompanies him by his side. A child follows him. Cottages are vaguely seen among mountains in the distance. Pines, plums and bamboos contend with each other for beauty, which is of great poetic beauty. This painting is extracted from the story of the prominent hermit Lin Bu of Northern Song living in seclusion in the isolated mountain by the West Lake in Hangzhou. Lin Hejing remained unmarried all his life. He loved plum as his wife and regarded cranes as his children. He planted plums and bred cranes around his cottage, which became a widespread tale.

Lin Bu, with a style name Junfu, was regarded as "Mr. Hejing" by later generations. He was a famous hermit poet of the Northern Song Dynasty. The popular lines of his Cleverish Plums in the Mountain Garden "As all blossoms withered away, she burst into bloom alone and dominate the entire garden. Sparse, crossed branches reflect on the clear brook surface. Floating hidden fragrance accompanies me at the nightfall" constituted a vivid portrayal of plum blossoms, which won universal praise and is honored as the peak of poetic perfection among odes to plum blossom.