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Armchair with Five Blessings motif

19th century

  • birch
  • 550mm wide x 430mm deep x 920mm high

This is a very special chair. The back has striking carving of five bats. The centre bat combines with other elements to form a long life character. The carving is a rebus of an idiomatic expression "wu fu peng shou" that means five bats touching longevity. The word for bat in Mandarin is pronounced "fu", a word that is a homonym for another character that means happiness or blessing. Five bats represent the Five Blessings of happiness, good health, love of virtue, long life and a peaceful death.

The arms display open carved scrolling vine and flower forms.