A jade carving of a fabulous beast Ming dynasty or earlier
Lot 8128
A jade carving of a fabulous beast Ming dynasty or earlier
Sold for US$ 15,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
A jade carving of a fabulous beast Ming dynasty or earlier A jade carving of a fabulous beast Ming dynasty or earlier A jade carving of a fabulous beast Ming dynasty or earlier A jade carving of a fabulous beast Ming dynasty or earlier
Lot Details
Property from Various Owners
A jade carving of a fabulous beast
Ming dynasty or earlier
Rendered in stone of gray-green hue with prominent veins of dark russet and mottled white inclusions; the beast portrayed recumbent crouched upon limbs with stylized fetlocks above paws with four separately carved toes, the intense expression enhanced by the gaping maw, pert ears, and individually incised facial details most noticeably the wrinkles surrounding the bulbous eyes; the graceful and stylized wings carved in raised relief in three layers of plumage surrounding a subtly rendered backbone continuing into the tail curled around the beast's undercarriage.
7in (17.8cm) long

Footnotes

  • For a prototype of the present lot then dated to the Han dynasty notable for a similar treatment of incised pelt, stylized wings and recumbent posture, see an example from the Freer-Sackler collection, published as example 177 in Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages, Oriental Ceramics Society, London 1975. Other mythical animal examples dated as Ming or earlier are published in the same collection (ex. 261, 267, 254). Like the present lot, these are characterized by a skillful usage of the matrix of the stone by the lapidary to evoke the animal's fur and give the piece a sleek elongated look. The editors attribute the phenomenon of these later beasts to 'a general resurgence of interest in antiquity which took fire among the scholar classes and the Court at the time,' leading to a prevalence of post-Song homages to 'quaint beasts of the Han and Six Dynasties periods... reproduced in accordance with their original stylistic conventions, in so far as these are correctly understood (pg. 80).'

    Provenance:
    Ashkenazie and Company, San Francisco
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