A rare striated pale green jade carving of a bixie Ming Dynasty or later (2)

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Lot 6
A rare striated pale green jade carving of a bixie
Ming Dynasty or later

HK$ 1,200,000 - 1,500,000
US$ 150,000 - 190,000
A rare striated pale green jade carving of a bixie
Ming Dynasty or later
The grinning mythical beast facing forward, head turned subtly to the right with alert bulging eyes, the strong haunches emphasised with bold archaistic scrolls and the twisting bifurcated tail sweeping luxuriantly over the hind legs, the stone of pale green tone with strands of darker marbling, wood stand.
18.2cm (7 1/8in) long (2).

Footnotes

  • 明或以後 青玉雕辟邪

    Provenance 來源:
    Mario Prodan, Rome, advertised in Apollo Magazine, 1963
    Somerset de Chair (1911-1995), acquired prior to 1972

    Illustrated 出版:
    G.Wills, Jade of the East, New York, 1972, pp.41, 62-63, pl.41 (collection of Somerset de Chair)

    Exhibited 展覽:
    The Arts Council of Great Britain and the Oriental Ceramic Society, Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1975, Catalogue, no.267 (collection of Somerset de Chair)

    The bixie, 'averter of evil', a lion-like mythical beast with claws (in contrast to the qilin which has hooves), appears in Chinese art as early as the Han dynasty, both in monumental stone sculpture and in small jade carvings. It has been suggested by S.H.Hansford in Chinese Carved Jades, London, 1968, p.87, that 'Winged quadrupeds are unknown to earlier Chinese mythology, but are a common feature of Babylonian and Assyrian imagery, and the concept seems to have reached China in the Han period through her exploration and expansion westward'. For monumental stone sculptures of bixie see, A. Falco Howard, Li Song, Wu Hung and Yang Hong, Chinese Sculpture, New Haven, 2006, pl.1.57, p.92 (2nd century AD; at the Luoyang Museum, Henan Province), and see also pls.2.64-65, pp.166-167 (a pair of stone bixie, Southern dynasties, at the Yongningling mausoleum of Chen Qian, Emperor Wen of Chen, Nanjing). For a jade carving of a bixie, Han dynasty, see Masterworks of Chinese Jade in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1969, pl.20, for which the Qianlong emperor composed a poem:

    'Why is this feline called a bixie?
    With swelling chest and splendid rump,
    Mottled and broidered all around,
    Ready to leap and seize his prey?
    Yet doubts arise, however he could
    Bring fortune to a noble house,
    Avert calamity, turn it to gain,
    Or manifest prosperity, ah no!

    Imperially inscribed,
    Spring 1774, second month, first decade'

    The Han dynasty jade carving shows a powerful beast with an arched back, its head raised and jaws open, the clawed paws firmly planted. Similarly powerfully and energetically poised and further enhanced by its impressive size, the Somerset de Chair jade bixie harks back to the archaic carvings of the Han dynasty and possibly the archaistic movement in the Song dynasty, which saw the emergence of a deliberate movement of archaistic revival in art, following on the more general resurgence of interest in antiquity amongst the scholar classes and the Court; see the exhibition catalogue of the Art Council of Great Britain and the Oriental Ceramic Society, Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1975, p.80. Compare a related small pale green and russet jade bixie, Song dynasty, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Jadeware (II), Hong Kong, 1995, pl.57.

    The dating of the Somerset de Chair bixie has previously been identified by G.Wells as Song dynasty and in the V&A 1975 exhibition as Ming dynasty, 14th-16th century. The powerful modelling of the bixie with its chest thrust forward and raised head is rather different from the more playful looking mythical beasts made during later centuries in the Ming period and the more regimented features apparent in the Qing dynasty; it is also more energetic and lifelike than monumental Ming dynasty stone sculpture, such as those aligning the Sacred Way to the Imperial Ming tombs produced from 1381-1405. However, the size of the present lot is unusual for Ming dynasty animals and may indicate a later date.

    玉呈青白色,帶褐色沁,立體圓雕呈伏臥狀。辟邪昂首挺胸,雙目圓睜,如意形鼻,張牙露齒,雙耳貼於頭兩側,後腦有支角,下頜有一縷鬚毛,四肢琢刻細膩,紋飾分明,呈蓄勢待擊狀,長尾環曲右甩,雕工精湛,整體體態雄健,彰顯力度,十分傳神。

    此青玉雕辟邪曾屬羅馬Mario Prodan舊藏,後由Somerset de Chair於1972年前獲得。被出版並著錄於G.Wills著,《Jade of the East》,紐約,1972年,頁41,62-63,圖41。並在1975年在英國維多利亞及阿伯特博物館的《Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages》展覽中展出,編號267。

    辟邪是想像中的神話動物,是人們希望藉助它的法力,來避除邪惡。辟邪於漢代的時候已出現,多為帶翼的四足獸,其造形可能傳自西亞。常以巨石雕刻,立於陵墓前。也以玉雕琢成,作為高貴的陳設器,參閱S.H.Hansord,《Chinese Carved Jades》,倫敦,1968年,頁87。有關石雕辟邪的例子,可參見A. Falco Howard,Li Song,Wu Hung和Yang Hong,《Chinese Sculpture》,紐哈芬,2006年,圖版1.57,頁92(該石雕為公元二世紀,藏於河南省洛陽博物館),也見圖版2.64-65,頁166-167(南朝的一對石雕辟邪,位於南京陳文帝陳茜永寧陵)。另外參考一件漢代的玉雕辟邪,見《故宮玉器選萃》,臺北,1969年,圖版20,辟邪的胸前刻有乾隆御題詩。

    該件漢代玉辟邪昂首張口,跨步遊走,雙翼雖貼於身側,卻做蓄勢待發狀。Somerset de Chair的這件辟邪與臺北故宮的那一件神態相似,體積較大,同樣氣宇非凡,其風格可追溯到漢代的雕刻風格或宋代的復古風,見英格蘭藝術委員會和東方陶瓷學會,《Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages》展覽圖錄封面上,倫敦維多利亞和阿爾伯特博物館,1975年,頁80。也見一件宋代青玉雕帶皮雕辟邪,著錄於《故宮博物院文物珍品大系:玉器(II)》,香港,1995年,圖版57。

    本拍品曾被G.Wells在其著錄中定為宋代,亦曾在1975年維英國多利亞及阿伯特博物館展覽中被定為明代14-16世紀。可對比參考明代後期玉雕瑞獸較為俏皮的風格和清代極為嚴謹的特色,Somerset de Chair這一件辟邪昂首挺胸的氣勢更顯威武;也可參考明代的巨石雕,例如明十三陵神路兩側由1381-1405年建的石雕,本玉雕辟邪更顯生機和活力,而且,此像的體積有別於典型明代的玉雕動物,從而可推斷出此拍品有可能製於更晚的時期。
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A rare striated pale green jade carving of a bixie Ming Dynasty or later (2)
A rare striated pale green jade carving of a bixie Ming Dynasty or later (2)
A rare striated pale green jade carving of a bixie Ming Dynasty or later (2)
A rare striated pale green jade carving of a bixie Ming Dynasty or later (2)
A rare striated pale green jade carving of a bixie Ming Dynasty or later (2)
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