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18031

Pair of Architectural Pillars
Item No. 18031

Late 19th Century, Buddhist, China
Lacquer over Wood
29" x 0" x 0"
( 73.66 x 0 x 0 cm)
(H x W x D)

This pair of red lacquered architectural pillars was probably placed in a Buddhist temple or on the home shrine of a wealth family of Buddhists. It is designed in tiers as a flowering lotus. Each pillar is carved on a long cylindrical base, topped with four tiers, each with stylized representations of lotuses. The bottom three tiers are different forms of unfurling lotus petals, and the flat top of each pillar is an as open lotus flower. The budding lotus petals represent the potential for enlightenment, and the open lotus flower realized enlightenment. The vermilion color of the pillars was made to enhance the fu of the pillars as well as the environment into which they were placed. Chinese believe that red symbolizes good fortune, fame, joy and riches and is a life-giving color, correlated with summer, the time of life giving. It is associated with the south and the vermilion bird that represents the elements fire and the period of maximum yang.

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