Prunus Vase with Blue-and-White Painting of Lady Instructing Her Child Made in Wanli's Reign of Ming
The design on the vase’s belly takes courtyard scenery as the background and is embellished with two paintings of a lady teaching her child. In one painting, a lady sits gracefully on a rare stone of an artificial hill in a gentle and refined posture. She holds a lotus leaf in one hand and a pen-shaped implement for instructing the little kid in the other hand. The kid sits on the carved railing of the courtyard, looks back to three honeybees and looks quite adorable. A butterfly is flying behind him in the garden. The scene is clear and concise with profound connotations and a series of implications including "giving birth to cute babies; the mother's honor increases as her son's position rises; expecting a promising future for the child". In another painting, a lady stands under the jade stairs under cannas beside the artificial hill with coiling auspicious clouds and a bright sun. She carries a ribbon in one hand and points at the two children with the other hand, who are chasing dragonflies. One child holds a fan, looking carefully for flapping dragonflies. His friend takes a small bamboo pole, looking upward with his head raised in an innocent, vigorous manner. The painting carries the implication of "holding high hopes for the children". The two sets of designs are consistent in content, which jointly reflect people's expectations for their descendants.