Lot 245
  • 245


30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Length 1 3/4  in., 4.4 cm
carved seated on its back haunches, the feet tucked under the rounded body, the head turning backwards and nestling onto the left shoulder, the face in an expression of intense focus with the eyes wide open and accentuated by the ridge of the furrowed forehead, the ears folded back, the stone of a creamy tone with milky inclusions, shifting to a soft brownish-gray at the hare's back and right side


Mu-Fei Collection (Collection of Professor Cheng Te-K'un).
Bluett & Sons, Ltd., London, 22nd November 1990.


Chinese Jades from the Mu-Fei Collection, Bluett & Sons, London, 1990, cat no. 66.


Robert P. Youngman, The Youngman Collection of Chinese Jades from Neolithic to Qing, Chicago, 2008, pl. 123.

Catalogue Note

Animals held a particular fascination for jade carvers of the Song dynasty, who tirelessly worked stones to reveal images of nearly every type of creature, both real and imaginary. Their approaches toward representation can broadly be divided into two categories: the realist aesthetic, in which the individual furs and feathers are minutely articulated, and the essentialist mode, in which the fundamental nature of the animal is conveyed through its body language alone. The present carving embodies the purity of form of the latter approach. Here, the hare is stripped of all superfluous detail. The carver has restricted the form to the principal well-rounded contours of the hare's anatomy and the few incised lines that define the toes and the alert facial expression. Yet, these are sufficient to identify the animal and its sense of anticipation. Song dynasty jade carvings of animals executed in this manner of representation include a figure of a camel-like mythical beast in the collection of the Palace Museum, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Jadeware, vol. 2, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 58; a carving of a 'sanyang' group from the Chang Shuo Studio Collection exhibited in Chinese Jade Animals, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1996, cat. no. 90, and later sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 5th April 2017, lot 3321; a single jade ram included in the same exhibition, ibid., cat. no. 91; and white jade carving of a ram in the collection of Brian McElney, included in Chinese Jade Carving, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1983, cat. no. 142.