Height: 8.26 cm, width: 15.24 cm
Former collection of the Prince Kung’s Palace
This pair of creamy jade boxes is in the shape of standing birds. Each bird holds a lingzhi fungus that is embedded with rose quartz and jadeite in its beak. The birds’ upper bodies including the heads and tails form the lids of each box and their lower parts serve as a round container. The bird’s claws and feathers are craved delicately. Two nest-shaped wood bases support the jade birds.
The jade birds are believed to be pigeons, which signified longevity in ancient times. As the Book of the Later Han records, the pigeon symbolizes eternal life. Meanwhile, pigeons holding the lingzhi fungus in their beaks endows them with intensified auspicious meanings.
The jade bird-shaped boxes were previously auctioned overseas, and were listed as No 26 in the auction list of the AAA Prince Kung Auction in New York in 1913. However, they have been repatriated to the museum and are now part of the permanent collection.