Tablescape: Double Happiness Jar Tablesetting

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You see them everywhere–in decorating magazines, on chests, dressers, tables–because there is virtually no where that these large blue and white Chinese porcelain vases don’t look good!

The legend of the Double Happiness symbol is interesting. In the ancient Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 AD), a young Chinese student was on his way to Chang’an, the capital to appear for the national final examination. The winner would be selected to become one of the ministers in the court. Unfortunately, he fell ill as he was passing Liukeng village on the slopes of Donghua Mountain. A herbalist doctor and his beautiful daughter looked after him. He fell in love with the girl and proposed to her.

The young girl recited an incomplete verse to the young man: “Green trees against the sky in the spring rain while the sky set off the spring trees in the obscuration…”She would marry him if he found the other, matching line. “I am sure I can find the other half, but you will have to wait till I finish my examination.” He said. The girl agreed.

The young man won first place in the examination, and the emperor looked on him with great favor. Now the winners had to answer the final question. The King recited: “Red flowers dot the land in the breeze’s chase while the land colored up in red after the kiss.”

The young man immediately noticed that the lines written by the girl he loved was the first part of the couplet. And perfectly fit the emperor’s couplet. He took his love’s part and answered without hesitation. The King was pleased to see the harmony of the couplet and selected the young man as his minister. “But sire, I need a week to complete an unfinished task before I start work.”

On leave, he met with his beloved and recited the King’s lines. The girl was ecstatic to find her dream man, and they were married immediately. During the wedding, the couple “doubled” the Chinese character for “happy” on a piece of red paper and put it on the wall of their home to express their happiness at the events that had brought them together –so began the lucky symbol for love and success.

With the international popularity of this double happiness symbol and the china on which it is printed, it is not unreasonable that you see so many replicas and facsimiles everywhere–blue and white is most everyone’s favorite. I found this foam-core double-happiness style ginger jar at a gift shop a long time ago and have loved  using it as a table decoration. This double happiness jar tablesetting is so easy.My foam-core ginger jar is in the colors of blue, green and yellow so I used it with a plaid cotton tablecloth and napkins and with white dinnerware. I added a green, blue and yellow dessert plate to the tablescape for added color. I also added some lemons and limes for more color. I love the colors


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