Five-Happinesses and Longevity Civilian Door Official

    SKU: brimus196

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    About

    Counterparts to military personnel guarding main gates were images of civilian officials pasted on inner doors. Civilian officials have benign faces and wear hats with stiff ties. Their heavy robes with floating sleeves are completed with a crane rank badge, symbolic of the highest rank in the civil-service system. As bearers of good luck, they hold auspicious objects and are followed by children carrying more of the same. The officials, usually in three-quarter view and much larger than their attendants, are immobile, maintaining an aura of quiet dignity, whereas the children are pert and animated. In this left-hand print of a pair, the official holds a qilin on a tray. The mythical qilin is associated with illustrious posterity because one appeared to the mother of Confucius just as the sage was to be born. The qilin also symbolizes ‘longevity, grandeur, felicity, illustrious offspring, and wise administration’. Considering the peach of longevity in the cloud issuing from its mouth, this qilin insures long life. The mate to this print is entitled Rise-in-Rank and Bring-in-Emoluments Civilian Door Guard.

    Specification

    Details: Five-Happinesses and Longevity Civilian Door Official, woodblock print on paper, Qing dynasty, early 20th century, Yangliuqing, China. (c) The Trustees of the British Museum

    Paper prints are framed with high grade Perspex (Plexiglas).

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