Miniature Chinese garden

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National Maritime Museum, First floor, Traders gallery

A miniature garden representing the spirit of longevity, perseverance and integrity.

This Qianlong period miniature Chinese garden features a peach tree in coral, a pine tree in carved wood and ivory, tinted ivory bamboos. They symbolize longevity, perseverance and integrity since they can all endure cold weather and are known as the 'three friends of winter'.

The garden has tree fungus in mother of pearl, ivory cranes and rocks in malachite and rose quartz - these are also symbols of longevity.

The stand is made of rosewood and mother of pearl. The shell plaques are pierced with a dragon and lotus design.

This piece was said to have been acquired in China by Commodore Anson during his circumnavigation of the world in 1742-3 but in 1973 A.J.H. du Boulay of Christie's dated it to be from a later period.