This four-fold Chinese carved teakwood screen is composed of sections that are 16 inches wide by 60 inches high. There are 12 panels, each measuring 9.5 x 11 inches, of raised openwork cloisonné floral designs applied on a brown background, representing the 12 months of the year.
The flowers of the months are as follows:
January: Plum. An old Chinese saying has it that the pine, bamboo and plum are like three friends because they keep green in cold weather. The plum is also an emblem of longevity.
February: Peach Blossom. The peach is an emblem of longevity. The peach tree is described in ancient books as the tree of the gods, yielding the fruit of immortality.
March: Peony. The peony was considered the “King of Flowers,” indicating the esteem in which it was held. It is a symbol of love and affection.
April: Cherry. The cherry is an emblem of prosperity, and budding flowers express the wish for good fortune.
May: Magnolia. This flower is an emblem of sweetness and beauty. Its name in Chinese means “secretly smiling,” as it suggests the loving smile of a sweet maiden.
June: Pomegranate. This fruit is a Buddhist symbol representing the essence of favorable influences believed to exist in the pomegranate tree.
July: Lotus. This flower is a symbol of purity, because it springs from the water without contact with the sordid earth. No matter how muddy the water may be, the lotus preserves its beauty undefiled.
August: Pear. The pear serves as a guard against evil spirits, and boughs of pear trees are placed in doorways to prevent the entry of evil spirits.
September: Mallow. This is a symbol of longevity and immortality.
October: Chrysanthemum. This flower is a symbol of mid-autumn and also of joviality.
November: Gardenia. This flower is an emblem of marriage and happiness.
December: Poppy. This flower is raised for the beauty of the blossoms as well as the production of opium. It is a symbol of riches and earthly success.
On view in the Dining Room.