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A mythical fish-dragon (ao)
Place of Origin: China
Date: approx. 1900-1940
Materials: Nephrite
Dimensions: H. 3 3/4 in x W. 2 3/8 in x L. 10 7/8 in, H. 9.3 cm x W. 5.5 cm x L. 27.5 cm
Credit Line: Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of M.H. de Young
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Jade And Stones
Object Number: B81J5
On Display: No

Description

Label:

民國梮玉揎撦擺件

HIDDEN MEANING: May you become the First Scholar (duzhan aotou (獨占揎染

The ao is a mythical animal that is a cross between a fish and a dragon, and is the vehicle of Kuixing, the God of Literature—is a symbol of high literary achievement. During the Tang (618–906) and Song (960–1279) dynasties, candidates who had just taken the imperial examination awaited the results on a staircase engraved with an ao design. The candidate who won first place—given the title First Scholar (zhuangyuan 狀元—was the first to walk upon the head of the ao on the stairs. Hence the phrase "seizing alone the head of the ao" (duzhan aotou 獨占揎染

This nephrite piece would have been given to a scholar to wish him success in the civil service examinations.


More Information

Exhibition History: Hidden Meanings: Symbolism in Chinese Imperial Arts, October 7- December 31, 2006
"Hidden Meanings: Symbolism in Chinese Art," SFO United Terminal, June 4, 2010 - January 19, 2011
Label:

民國梮玉揎撦擺件

HIDDEN MEANING: May you become the First Scholar (duzhan aotou (獨占揎染

The ao is a mythical animal that is a cross between a fish and a dragon, and is the vehicle of Kuixing, the God of Literature—is a symbol of high literary achievement. During the Tang (618–906) and Song (960–1279) dynasties, candidates who had just taken the imperial examination awaited the results on a staircase engraved with an ao design. The candidate who won first place—given the title First Scholar (zhuangyuan 狀元—was the first to walk upon the head of the ao on the stairs. Hence the phrase "seizing alone the head of the ao" (duzhan aotou 獨占揎染

This nephrite piece would have been given to a scholar to wish him success in the civil service examinations.


Exhibition History: Hidden Meanings: Symbolism in Chinese Imperial Arts, October 7- December 31, 2006
"Hidden Meanings: Symbolism in Chinese Art," SFO United Terminal, June 4, 2010 - January 19, 2011