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Rare Chinese turquoise 'five peak mountain' brush rest, Kangxi (1662-1722), the biscuit covered with a turquoise glaze; on one side a dragon with qilin-like features including hooves and scaly hide, jumping amongst precious emblems including a cash coin and a scroll, the other side with a carp leaping from the water.
This is rare example of a five peak mountain brush rest. The motif of leaping fish and dragon symbolises perseverance, courage and accomplishment. According to Chinese mythology, a carp that perseveres and successfully swims against the river to leap over the Dragon’s Gate at the top of Longmen is transformed into a mighty dragon. The myth gave rise to the traditional Chinese saying ‘Liyu Tiao Long Men’ 鲤鱼跳龙门 (lit: ‘the carp has leaped through the Dragon Gate’), used when proudly referring to a student who has worked hard and passed a difficult exam, though the odds were against them. The five characters of this well-known expression are alluded to in the five peaks of the brush rest, which would have been prized as an auspicious emblem of scholarly perseverance and excellence.