Length: 2 1/4 inches, 5.7 cm
Height: 1 1/2 inches, 3.8 cm


Jade carving of Liu hai sitting astride a gourd

China, 18th century

A jade group of the Immortal Liu hai, sitting astride a large bottle gourd, the end of which is tied with a long ribbon. The smiling Immortal has his head turned slightly to the left, is dressed in a long-sleeve robe and holds a string of coins in both hands. The stone is of uniform, palest celadon tone.

Liu hai was originally an historical figure from the Han dynasty who was once prime minister. On encountering a Daoist adept, he became a Daoist Immortal and is generally considered the god of wealth; he invariably holds a string of coins. The bottle gourd is an important auspicious symbol and has many meanings; it is a symbol of fertility, continuity and is also a pun for “lake”.[1]

the collection of Major Henry Ferdinand Stanley MC (1911 – 1997)
Major Stanley was appointed the first director of the Hong Kong Tourist association in 1957.

  1. Tse Bartholomew, T. Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 2006, 3.3 p. 61