naturalistically carved with a small toad lying on a lotus pad grasping a clamshell with his front right foot, his bumpy skin covering his back, the lotus pad retaining some of the russet skin
Chinese Jade Carving, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1983, cat. no. 289.
This piece is remarkable for its intricate attention to detail as seen by the textured back of the toad; a related figure on a lotus leaf was included in the exhibition Chinese Jade Carving, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1983, cat. no. 184. See an example with a smooth back sold in our New York rooms, 24th March 1998, lot 335; a smaller carving, from the Gerald Godfrey collection, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30th October 1995, lot 884; and a third toad sold in these rooms, 6th December 1978, lot 1198, and again at Christie's New York, 1st December 1988, lot 91.
The toad is one of the wudu ('Five Noxious Creatures'), which also includes the viper, spider, centipede, and scorpion, which was believed to combat poison. This five-creature motif was embroidered onto children's clothes and made into papercuts and charms and worn during the Duanwu Festival at the beginning of summer, when many of these noxious creatures came out.
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