Ding family of the Jinchang pavillion, A basket of flowers, a colour woodblock print


British Museum

British Museum

The inscription on this print identifies the Ding family as coming from [near] the Jinchang pavillion. The Jinchang pavillion was near the Chang gate, in north-western Suzhou. This is the area where the district of Taohuawu was located, which had many hundreds of print workshops in the early Qing dynasty.Each print in the series is of an auspicious subject accompanied by a verse which is a pun on the motifs depicted. The basket is an attribute of Lan Caihe, one of the Eight Immortals. Representing a receptacle of riches, it was a motif which was often used to evoke harmony. In this case, it comes with the wish that one's luck would be as fragrant and as plentiful as the flowers in the basket. The magnolia, wild apple and peony are all symbols of spring, and so this print would presumably have been used during the Chinese New Year. When the magnolia and wild apple are depicted together, it means 'May your halls be rich and honoured'. The peony was also known as fugui hua, the flower of riches and honour.

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  • Title: Ding family of the Jinchang pavillion, A basket of flowers, a colour woodblock print
  • Date Created: 1700/1799
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 29.60cm (paper sheet); Width: 36.90cm (paper sheet)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: woodblock
  • Subject: flower
  • Registration number: 1906,1128,0.3
  • Production place: Printed in Suzhou
  • Producer: Designed by Ding Workshop
  • Place: Found/Acquired China
  • Period/culture: Qing dynasty
  • Material: paper
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Sloane, Hans