of irregular boulder form, elaborately carved to both faces with figural landscape scenes, the figures making their way along a mountain path, some on horseback, some by foot, with overhanging craggy rocks surrounded by pine and other trees and dense vegetation, with swirling clouds above, the stone of pale celadon tone with russet inclusions, wood stand
Jade mountains were popular among the literati and in the imperial courts. They were objects of contemplation and most likely inspired by landscape painting. Most jade mountains depict figures in naturalistic scenery and are carved in elaborate detail. They reflected man's love for nature and his insignificance in the cosmic realm. Miniature jade mountains were made from as early as the Song dynasty and gained great popularity among the literary class. R. Kleiner discusses the Chinese literati fascination with carved jade mountains in Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, Hong Kong, 1996, p. 160. He suggests that the expansive landscapes were idyllic settings into which the scholar could retreat, without having to leave his study.
See two examples of jade mountains carved with figures, both of smaller size but related rounded shape, illustrated in Ip Yee, Chinese Jade Carving, Hong Kong, 1983, pl. 237 and 238; and one carved with figures hunting game included in the exhibition The Refined Taste of the Emperor: Special Exhibition of Archaic and Pictorial Jades of the Ch'ing Court, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1997, cat.no. 52.
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