You are an honest and uncorrupted official in your entire career
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An egret and lotus flowers (莲花) are pictured in combination to infer ‘Yi Lu Qing Lian’, which means ‘You are an honest and uncorrupted official in your entire career’.
‘Yi lu 一鹭’ for ‘one egret’ puns on ‘yi lu 一路’ for ‘all the way’; ‘qing lian 青莲’ for ‘green lotus’ makes pun on ‘qing lian 清廉’ for ‘honest and fair in government matters’. Hence the whole image is intended to describe somebody who has the integrity and has never been corrupted during the official career.
The same picture may be referred to as ‘Yi Lu Lian Ke 一路连科’.
Related Pun Picture:
Fig 1: underglaze-red pouring bowl yi, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), courtesy of Sotheby’s Auction House, Hong Kong, 07 April 2013, Lot 34
Fig 2: jade carving ornament, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), courtesy of Shanghai Museum, China. Photograph by Mr Ales Yeo, 2023
Fig 3: garden seat, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Fig 4: gold hairpin head inlayed with precious stones, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), courtesy of Qichun County Museum, Hubei Province, China
Fig 5: blue-and-white ovoid jar and cover, Shunzhi period (1644–61), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Christie’s Auction House, New York, 16 Mar 2015, Lot 3513
Fig 6: famille verte saucer, late Kangxi-Yongzheng period (c.1720), courtesy of the Museum of East Asian Art, Bath, UK
Fig 7: 荷鹭图, hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper, Xin Luo Shan Ren 新罗山人 (1682–1756), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Yangzhou Museum, China
Fig 8: lidded famille rose porcelain jar, Jiaqing period (1796–1820), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Palace Museum, Beijing
Fig 9: famille rose porcelain basin, Tongzhi period (1861–75), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Palace Museum, Beijing