The style of carving places this object squarely in the milieu of Yuan and Ming dynasty lapidary craftsmanship. The brawny form accented with rippling features, such as eyebrows, horns, and tufts of fur, rendered in high relief and softly polished to a harmonious finish, are consistent with jade representations of other mythical beasts dating to this period. Compare, for instance, a jade water pot carved as a dragon-headed tortoise, in which the form of the animal's body and the rendering of the waves on the hexagonal base have been treated in a remarkably similar manner to the present object, in the collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and exhibited in Chinese Jades from Han to Ch'ing, Asia Society, New York, 1980, cat. no. 61. Additional examples of this mode of figuration are found in a Yuan - Ming dynasty celadon and russet jade carving of a mythical animal in the Guan-fu Collection, included in the same exhibition, ibid., cat. no. 51; a Yuan dynasty celadon jade finial in the form of a dragon head in the Freer Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., acc. no. S1987.819; a Ming dynasty yellow jade carving of a coiled dragon, also in the collection of the Freer Sackler Galleries, acc. no. RLS1997.48.2751; a Song - Yuan dynasty brush washer with a phoenix-form handle in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, published in Art in Quest of Heaven and Truth: Chinese Jades Through the Ages, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2012, pl. 6-2-5b; a Yuan dynasty 'chilong' belt hook with a dragon-head terminus, also in the collection of the National Palace Museum and published in the same volume, ibid., pl. 6-5-2; and a carving of a bixie, similarly coiled to the present example and dated to the Ming dynasty (or earlier), sold at Christie's London, 9th June 1997, lot 212.
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