A finger citrons biscuit pyramid. China, Kangxi

The pyramid with naturalistically miniature finger citrons sits on a fluted dish. The coloured enamelling is in various shades of ochre-yellow, green and aubergine-brown. The fruits are arranged in five layers, with green leaves added in between. To construct this piece, each finger citron would have been individually moulded, then arranged layer by layer and joined with slip.

Period :
Kangxi (1662-1722)
6.49 in. (16,5 cm )
Reference :


Mallié & Co, Paris
Duchange, Paris

Related works

Similar examples are illustrated by John Ayers, The Chinese Porcelain Collection of Marie Vergottis, pl. 116 & 117, p. 110.

An identical example is illustrated by Walter Bondy in Kang-Hsi. Eine Blüte-Epoche der chinesischen Porzellankunst, München, 1923.


Such porcelain models, derive from the Chinese tradition of piling offerings of various sweetmeats on the household or temple altar. These exotic looking forms were exported to the West as luxurious curiosities during the 18th century. Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis, or fingered citron, is an unusually-shaped citron variety, whose fruit is segmented into finger-like sections, resembling those seen on representations of the Buddha. It is called Buddha’s hand in many languages including English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and French.

The fruit was used an offering in Buddhist temples. According to tradition, Buddha prefers the “fingers” of the fruit to be in a position where they resemble a closed rather than open hand, as closed hands symbolize to Buddha the act of prayer. Buddha’s hand fruit is very fragrant and is used predominantly in China and Japan for perfuming rooms. In China, the Buddha’s hand fruit is a symbol of happiness, longevity, and good fortune.

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