224
224
A WHITE AND RUSSET JADE 'COILED DRAGON' CARVING
YUAN - MING DYNASTY
Estimate
50,00070,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
224
A WHITE AND RUSSET JADE 'COILED DRAGON' CARVING
YUAN - MING DYNASTY
Estimate
50,00070,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Robert Youngman Collection of Chinese Jade

|
New York

A WHITE AND RUSSET JADE 'COILED DRAGON' CARVING
YUAN - MING DYNASTY
the beast's coiled body carved in high relief atop an integral bi disc, poised in an inward curving crouch with the head resting on a hind paw, the mouth agape with fangs exposed and the tongue curling upward beneath a bewhiskered lip, the bulging eyes framed by exaggerated comma-shaped eyebrows, the face further animated by tufts of fur sweeping outward from the cheeks and a long pair of curved horns extending down the neck to the shoulder blades, the energetic twisting movement of the body accentuated by the rolling contours of the musculature and fur, the bi disc carved in low relief with chilong roaming amidst swirling clouds
Length 3 5/8  in., 9 cm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Alvin Lo Oriental Art, Ltd., New York, 21st August 2007.

Catalogue Note

Dragons have been depicted on the surfaces of bi discs since antiquity, however the present carving is exceptional in the fully three-dimensional sculptural quality of the dragon and its relationship to the disc. In standard versions, the dragon is secondary to the disc, serving an ornamental purpose with its body proportionally diminutive and its posture determined by the parameters of the ritual ring. By contrast, this iteration prioritizes the powerful form of the creature, allowing its body to extend so far beyond the bi that the disc is almost totally enveloped by the dragon. The composition suggests that, here, the dragon serves as the guardian of the sacred implement, both drawing power from the disc and fiercely protecting it.

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.

The Robert Youngman Collection of Chinese Jade

|
New York