Butterfly Vase

What do the different shapes of carved Chinese jade signify?

I know that the hand-carved shapes of Chinese jade stand for different things. The animals of the Chinese zodiac are representative of themselves, for example. But there are other shapes... butterfly, vase, etc. and I was told that each of them had some meaning. I have looked everywhere I can think to look online, with no answers. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!

Yes, almost everything is symbolic of something in Chinese culture! It would take a THICK book to even begin to scratch the surface of Chinese symbolism & motifs!

I've listed a few common symbols and their general meaning:

Butterfly - Emblem of joy; Symbol of summer

Bat - Sounds similar to the character for happiness: Fu(2). Emblem of happiness and longevity. The design of 5 bats is a pictorial rebus for the "5 Blessings" ie old age, wealth, health, love of virtue and natural death(!). Often symbols of bats are so decorative that they apear to be butterflies.

Flowers - Certain flowers represent different times of the year. For e.g. Peony:Spring, Lotus:Summer, Chrysanthemum:Autumn and Plum Blossom:Winter.

Vase - The gift of a vase symbolises "peace" as the sound of the character for vase is similar to the character for peace.

Bamboo - Commonly known as "the friend of China". It is an emblem of longevity because it is durable and evergreen adn flourishes throughout the winter.

There's not much information online I'm afraid. Not that I know of anyway. However, there are books you can rfer to on this subject matter. A standard reference volume for many students of China/Chinese culture is, "Chinese Symbolism & Art Motifss" written by C.A.S. Williams. ISBN 0-8048-1586-0. It explains essential cultural symbols and contains interesting information on Chinese beliefs, customs, arts and crafts, food, medicine etc. I own this book and I think you will find it useful.

Hope that helps!

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STROMBERGSHYTTAN Signed Lead Crystal 8 Ice Blue Gray Cut Butterfly
STROMBERGSHYTTAN Signed Lead Crystal 8 Ice Blue Gray Cut Butterfly
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VINTAGE STROMBERGSHYTTAN BUTTERFLY ETCHED HEAVY CRYSTAL CLEAR VASE C1192 3 1 2
VINTAGE STROMBERGSHYTTAN BUTTERFLY ETCHED HEAVY CRYSTAL CLEAR VASE C1192 3 1 2
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Hand Painted Peachblow Art Glass Vase Butterfly Raised Gilt Details Cased Glass
Hand Painted Peachblow Art Glass Vase Butterfly Raised Gilt Details Cased Glass
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Strombergshyttan Crystal Etched Butterfly 6 Vase
Strombergshyttan Crystal Etched Butterfly 6 Vase
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Fenton Plum Opalescent iridescent butterfly vase 1984
Fenton Plum Opalescent iridescent butterfly vase 1984
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ART NOUVEAU FRANCE FRENCH CAMEO FROSTED SATIN GLASS VASE ROSE FLOWER
ART NOUVEAU FRANCE FRENCH CAMEO FROSTED SATIN GLASS VASE ROSE FLOWER
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Fenton Signed Lustre Glass Vase Butterfly Rare Millenium Collection
Fenton Signed Lustre Glass Vase Butterfly Rare Millenium Collection
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Genuine Led Crystal 26 Heavy Deep Cut Butterfly Vase
Genuine Led Crystal 26 Heavy Deep Cut Butterfly Vase
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Hand Painted Art Glass Vase Flowers Berries Butterfly Dragonfly Green Leaves
Hand Painted Art Glass Vase Flowers Berries Butterfly Dragonfly Green Leaves
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Fenton Glass Burmese Nouveau Butterfly Papillon Vase Connoisseur Mint In Box
Fenton Glass Burmese Nouveau Butterfly Papillon Vase Connoisseur Mint In Box
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LOETZ BLUE PAPILLON BUTTERFLY TAPERED CABINET SHOULDER VASE GREAT COLOR
LOETZ BLUE PAPILLON BUTTERFLY TAPERED CABINET SHOULDER VASE GREAT COLOR
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LENOX Signed Crystal Vase Hand Painted Butterfly Meadow w Ladybugs
LENOX Signed Crystal Vase Hand Painted Butterfly Meadow w Ladybugs
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Victorian Custard Glass Hand Painted Enameled Vase Blue Flowers Butterfly 9
Victorian Custard Glass Hand Painted Enameled Vase Blue Flowers Butterfly 9
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Strombergshyttan Crystal Etched Butterfly Vase
Strombergshyttan Crystal Etched Butterfly Vase
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Dartington Crystal Glitz Large Butterfly Vase with Swarovski crystal detail
Dartington Crystal Glitz Large Butterfly Vase with Swarovski crystal detail
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Blue To Teal Etched Butterflies Art Glass Heavy Vase Signed Vincent 65 MINT
Blue To Teal Etched Butterflies Art Glass Heavy Vase Signed Vincent 65 MINT
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FENTON GLASS HANDPAINTED BUTTERFLY TOPAZ AMBERINA VASE 3244 D9
FENTON GLASS HANDPAINTED BUTTERFLY TOPAZ AMBERINA VASE 3244 D9
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BACCARAT CRYSTAL PEONY BUTTERFLY  TWO WATERFORD CRYSTAL STEM VASES NEW BOXES
BACCARAT CRYSTAL PEONY BUTTERFLY TWO WATERFORD CRYSTAL STEM VASES NEW BOXES
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DESNA Bohemian Pressed Glass BUTTERFLY vase
DESNA Bohemian Pressed Glass BUTTERFLY vase
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Orrefors Etched Butterflies  Flowers Crystal Glass Vase Vintage 525 In Tall
Orrefors Etched Butterflies Flowers Crystal Glass Vase Vintage 525 In Tall
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English European Hand Painted Opal Vase Flowers  Butterfly
English European Hand Painted Opal Vase Flowers Butterfly
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Lenox Crystal 10 Vase Hand Painted Bees  Butterfly Gold Trim Signed PKP
Lenox Crystal 10 Vase Hand Painted Bees Butterfly Gold Trim Signed PKP
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Vintage Lead Crystal Triangular Cone Shaped Frosted Winged Butterfly Vase
Vintage Lead Crystal Triangular Cone Shaped Frosted Winged Butterfly Vase
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Clear Glass Lenox Butterfly Lady Bug Flowers Handpainted Vase
Clear Glass Lenox Butterfly Lady Bug Flowers Handpainted Vase
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ANTIQUE JAPAN LUSTERWARE VASE WITH ENAMEL BUTTERFLY
ANTIQUE JAPAN LUSTERWARE VASE WITH ENAMEL BUTTERFLY
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ANTIQUE FENTON BLUE SWUNG BUTTERFLY AND BERRY CARNIVAL GLASS VASE
ANTIQUE FENTON BLUE SWUNG BUTTERFLY AND BERRY CARNIVAL GLASS VASE
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Kosta Boda Crystal Vase Sweden Etched Girl and Butterflies
Kosta Boda Crystal Vase Sweden Etched Girl and Butterflies
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JOHANSFORS SWEDEN CRYSTAL ETCHED BUTTERFLY WITH A SUNFLOWER VASE ORIG LABEL
JOHANSFORS SWEDEN CRYSTAL ETCHED BUTTERFLY WITH A SUNFLOWER VASE ORIG LABEL
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Edenfalk Skruf Signed Crystal Art Vase Glass with Butterfly
Edenfalk Skruf Signed Crystal Art Vase Glass with Butterfly
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Vintage SAPPHIRE BLUE Fenton Carnival Glass Iriddescent Vase BUTTERFLY
Vintage SAPPHIRE BLUE Fenton Carnival Glass Iriddescent Vase BUTTERFLY
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Fenton Art Glass Hand Painted Butterfly Hydrangea on Pink Burmese Vase
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Cameo Glass 1970s Misu Coman Romanian Butterfly Vase
Cameo Glass 1970s Misu Coman Romanian Butterfly Vase
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BRISTOL GLASS RUFFLE VASE HAND BLOWN HAND PAINTED BLUE BIRD BUTTERFLY
BRISTOL GLASS RUFFLE VASE HAND BLOWN HAND PAINTED BLUE BIRD BUTTERFLY
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NEW Lalique Papillon Butterfly Vase in Mint Condition RARE
NEW Lalique Papillon Butterfly Vase in Mint Condition RARE
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Fenton Butterfly and Berry Lotus Mist HP N Fenton Burmese Vase
Fenton Butterfly and Berry Lotus Mist HP N Fenton Burmese Vase
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Bohemia Art Glass Vase Topaz Cut Butterfly Flower OL
Bohemia Art Glass Vase Topaz Cut Butterfly Flower OL
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Fenton KELSEY MURPHY Sand Carved RUBY VASE IRISES  BUTTERFLIES  FREEusaSHIP
Fenton KELSEY MURPHY Sand Carved RUBY VASE IRISES BUTTERFLIES FREEusaSHIP
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HUGE Gorgeous MAYAUEL WARD Black BUTTERFLY Wildflower Bouquet ART Glass VASE
HUGE Gorgeous MAYAUEL WARD Black BUTTERFLY Wildflower Bouquet ART Glass VASE
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Lenox Hand Painted Vase with Bees Butterflies and Flowers Artist Signed PKP
Lenox Hand Painted Vase with Bees Butterflies and Flowers Artist Signed PKP
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12 Art Glass Vase Satin Glass Hand Painted Flowers and Butterfly purple flow
12 Art Glass Vase Satin Glass Hand Painted Flowers and Butterfly purple flow
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