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White jade branch of elegant lychee, Agate finger citron

White jade branch of elegant lychee
White jade branch of
elegant lychee
Agate finger citron
Agate finger citrons

What catches the attention of most people who see this work of so-called "elegant lychee" in the Museum collection, in addition to its sparkling beauty, is the name given to it. This artwork is actually in imitation of a kind of bitter gourd that grows in northern China. "Elegant lychee" is another name for "bitter gourd", also known as "leprous gourd", a form of the plant for decorative purposes. However, the terms "bitter" and "leprous" are not exactly positive in connotation, so the original brocaded case for this object in the Tung-nuan Pavilion of the Ch'ien-ch'ing Palace was provided with the title "White jade branch of elegant lychee", thus revealing the attention to and refinement in naming items by the court.

The accompanying agate finger citron flower holder from the Museum collection seen here is also a decorative object overflowing with auspicious significance often seen in the Ch'ing dynasty. It is carved into the shape of a finger citron (a kind of bergamot) with branch and leaves in a very animated manner.

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