A very fine small white jade 'qilin' group  18th century
Lot 16
A very fine small white jade 'qilin' group 18th century
Sold for £24,000 (US$ 37,555) inc. premium

Lot Details
Various Owners
A very fine small white jade 'qilin' group
18th century
Carved from an exceptionally even very pale greenish white pebble as a horned mythical beast with a muscular body, a bundle of books tied with a ribbon and resting on cloudy vapour, or qi, issuing from the animal's mouth, the details all sharply incised; shown in a recumbent posture, looking directly backwards, its legs tucked beneath its body and its scales crisply incised on each thigh, its mane long and finely incised, with flame-like brows over large eyes and an s-shaped nose, a short incised beard, scaly haunches, cloven hooves, and incised, many-branched tail, fitted wood stand, box.
8cm (3¼in) long. (3).

Footnotes

  • Provenance: an English private collection.

    The qilin is often associated in Chinese mythology with prosperity, and it is said to appear only in areas ruled by a wise and benevolent king. It is renowned for its gentility, and through its great avoidance of treading on any living thing, it is able to walk on grass without trampling it, or walk on water. In spite of its fearsome appearance, the qilin only punishes the wicked. Being a peaceful creature, its diet does not include flesh. Normally gentle, this creature can become fierce if a pure person is threatened by a sinner. This particular jade figure represents the rebus lintu yushu (may you give birth to an illustrious son).

    For similar examples, see Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, 1935-6, London, 1935, no.2864, from the Raphael collection; The Deep affection for Jade, Taipei, 1992, pp.170-1; Jadeware (III): The complete collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1995, p.154, fig.67; Jessica Rawson and John Ayers, Chinese jade throughout the ages Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1975, no.374
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