A LARGE CELADON AND RUSSET JADE 'RABBIT' PLAQUE SONG – JIN DYNASTY
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
A jade plaque dated to the Liao or Jin dynasty in the British Museum, decorated with a rabbit amidst lingzhi fungus, is illustrated in Jessica Rawson, Chinese Jade. From the Neolithic to the Qing, London, 1995, pl. 25:11. The precise rendering of the rabbit’s form and posture closely matches that on the current plaque, as do other precise details, such as the near-identical incised almond-shaped eyes and other subtle details including the fur, so carefully delineated with gently incised lines. The vivid scrolling clouds emerging from the mouth of the tortoise on the current plaque also closely relate to the lingzhi fungus on the British Museum plaque.
The motif of two rabbits on the current plaque may have been used to recall an auspicious phrase, or be linked to immortality. For other Song dynasty representations of rabbits in jade, see the small pair illustrated in Chinese Jade Animals, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1996, cat. no. 101.