VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Symbol of Luck
23.68-20
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The object shows a pair of fish on a lotus-shaped socle. These fish are one of the eight lucky symbols of Buddhism. They are predominantly used in the Tibetan variety of Buddhism, but here they have taken on a typically Chinese form: The lotus socle has a naturalistic form and is enamelled. These features are not found in Tibetan art. A very similar piece in the National Palace Museum in Taipei was produced in the imperial workshops in Beijing. The Chinese emperors for a long time acted as benefactors of Tibetan Buddhism. Therefore, the imperial workshops have produced many cult objects of Tibetan Buddhism in very fine quality.

History of the Object
The piece was put on sale in 1907 by the Hamburg dealer Umlauff. It was bought by the Budges, who later gave it to the museum.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Gilt metal, enamel. 
Measurements
Width D max 9 cm Height 33 cm  
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
probably 18th C 
Where it was made
China; Imperial workshops 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
18th Century; 1736 - 1795 (probably in the Qianlong era) 
Function
Altar adornment for Tibetan-Buddhist worship. 
Acquisition
Gift from Henry and Emma Budge. See our Chinese laquer box, Inv. Nr. 23.68:70, for Details about the Budges. 
Copyright
Saal/Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg 
Museum
Museum of Ethnology, Hamburg 
Credit line
Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg, Inv.-Nr. 23.68:20 

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