deftly carved on one side with a figure of Sun Ce in full armour holding a halberd in his right hand, his face sharply turned to his right, the chain mail finely rendered, the reverse carved in low-relief with a long inscription in caoshu ('grass script'), followed by Zigang and one seal wenwan ('scholarly plaything'), all below a pair of archaistic addorsed dragons, the stone of even white translucent tone, pierced with a hole at the top and the bottom
Exquisite Jade Carving, The University Museum and Art Gallery, Hong Kong, 1996, cat. no. 202A.
Chinese Jade Carving, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1983, cat. no. 261.
The flawless quality of the stone is enhanced by the refined and detailed modelling of Sun Ce, elder brother of the first ruler of the Wu state in the time of the Three Kingdoms (220-265). The poem and illustration for this plaque are taken from the book Wushuang pu (Famous and Unique Personages), a collection of images and poems of famous historical figures. First published during the Kangxi emperor's reign, this book was based on the work of the scholar Jin Guliang and immediately became a pattern book for designs of various kinds of works of art in the seventeenth century, including jade carving.
A closely related plaque, in the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, is illustrated in James C.Y. Watt, Chinese Jades in the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 1989, pl. 59; and another, from the Bei Shan Tang collection, was included in the exhibition Chinese Jades from Han to Ch'ing, Asia House Gallery, New York, 1980, cat. no. 212; along with an unsigned example, cat. no. 211.
Lu Zigang was a celebrated carver in his native city of Suzhou during the second half of the sixteenth century to the extent that many of the finest jade carvings from the Suzhou workshops bore his 'signature' beyond his lifetime.
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