An Exquisite Pair of Vases with Deer and Pine Scenery on Display in Kyoto National Museum

Kyoto National Museum is currently holding an exhibition showcasing a group of exquisite Chinese ceramics. Featured on the cover is a pair of vases with deer and pine scenery that manifests the superb craftsmanship of painters from the Qianlong period.

In 2012, Matsui Hirotsugu, collector of Chinese art, donated fifty-nine ceramics, thirteen archaeological artifacts, and two sculptures to the Kyoto National Museum. To honour his generous donation, the museum presents this exhibition to showcase treasures from his collection, including ceramics spanning dynasties from Han (206BC - AD200) to Qing (1644-1911), as well as archaic Chinese bronzes and other metal objects.

The focal point of the show is a pair of Qianlong vases with deer and pine. Glazed in celadon ground with gilt decoration, they are vividly painted with a herd of deer grazing in a lush landscape amidst pine trees.

The vases are decorated with meander pattern around the mouth and ruyi pattern on the shoulder. The neck features floral scrolls with a bat hung at the center. The Chinese word for bat is fu, a homophone for the word ‘happiness’. Hence, bat is a popular motif on Chinese ceramics because of its auspicious connotation. Whereas the deer on the body of the vase shares the homophone of good fortune (lu). Deer and pine trees are all symbols of longevity.

The base and the interior of the vase are covered in turquoise glaze. The bottom is inscribed with a six-character seal mark of the Qianlong period.

Other highlights of the exhibition

Celadon-glazed garlic-mouth bottle vase from the Qianlong period

Bronze tripod vessel (he) from the Spring and Autumn period

Sancai jar and cover from the Tang dynasty

White-ground red glass ‘floral’ jar from the Qianlong period

Exquisite Chinese Ceramics

Dates: 18 December 2018 – 3 March 2019
Venue: Heisei Chishinkan Wing (The Collections Galleries), Galleries 1F-2, 3
Address: 527 Chaya-cho, Higashiyama-ku
Admission (including admission to the museum and the exhibition “Exquisite Chinese Ceramics”)

  • Adult|JPY 520
  • University students|JPY 260
  • High school student or younger|Free

Opening hours

  • Tuesday - Thursday, Sunday|9:30am - 5pm
  • Friday and Saturday|9:30am - 8pm
  • Closed: Mondays (except on national holiday), 15 January, 29 January

Enquiry: +81 75-525-2473