241
241
A YELLOW AND RUSSET JADE FIGURE OF ZHOU YANZI
MING DYNASTY
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
241
A YELLOW AND RUSSET JADE FIGURE OF ZHOU YANZI
MING DYNASTY
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Robert Youngman Collection of Chinese Jade

|
New York

A YELLOW AND RUSSET JADE FIGURE OF ZHOU YANZI
MING DYNASTY
kneeling in a loose robe with the proper left knee raised and the right knee bent to the ground, the right arm descending and grasping the handle of a milk pail, the left arm bent at the elbow with the hand clutching the hoof of a deer, the skin of the animal cloaking the back of the figure, the deer's head perched atop the boy's cap, the stone a creamy yellow tone at the front where the figure is carved, transmuting to rich brown tones at the back where the deerskin is represented, wood stand (2)
Height 3 1/8  in., 7.9 cm
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Provenance

Purchased in Hong Kong, 1964.

Literature

Robert P. Youngman, The Youngman Collection of Chinese Jades from Neolithic to Qing, Chicago, 2008, pl. 181.

Catalogue Note

The Confucian parable of Zhou Yanzi (alternately known as Zhou Yanci, Zhou Tanzhi, or Zhou Tanzi) originates from a Chinese folk tale. The story of filial piety describes a boy whose elderly parents began to lose their sense of sight and claimed that the milk of a doe would restore their vision. In an effort to reverse their impending blindness, Yanzi bravely cloaked himself in a deerskin and roamed amidst the herd in disguise to collect the potent milk. His selfless act of devotion earned him a place as one of the twenty-four Confucian paragons of filial piety.

The present carving identifies Yanzi with his usual attributes: the milk pail and the deerskin. From the reverse, only the animal's body can be seen, alluding to the efficacy of his disguise and Yanzi's success in completing his mission. In addition to capturing the essential features of the story in this succinct carving, the artisan has also made excellent use of the inherent qualities of the stone. The luminous yellow sections of the jade highlight the hero, while the naturally dark 'skin' of the stone maps onto the hide of the deer both distinguishing it from the figure and contributing a realistic coloration to the animal's coat.

A Song dynasty celadon and russet jade carving of this subject, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Henry N. Foster, was included in Chinese Jade: The Image from Within, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, 1986, cat. no. 82a; a Ming dynasty version in white and russet jade is in the collection of the Freer Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., acc. no. S1987.759; a white jade iteration attributed to the Ming dynasty was included in Chinese Jade: An Important Private Collection, Spink & Son, London, 1991, cat. no. 120; a white and brown jade carving of this subject from the Qing dynasty was sold in our Paris rooms, 10th June 2014, lot 35; and a 17th century celadon and russet jade example sold in these rooms, 17th September 2003, lot 128.

The Robert Youngman Collection of Chinese Jade

|
New York