Lot 45
  • 45

A LARGE CELADON AND RUSSET JADE 'RABBIT' PLAQUE SONG – JIN DYNASTY

Estimate
150,000 - 200,000 HKD
Sold
300,000 HKD
bidding is closed

Description

  • jade
  • 11.4 cm, 4 1/2  in.
of oval section, the top deftly reticulated and worked in high relief, depicting two rabbits looking backwards at a mythical tortoise issuing scrolling clouds from its mouth, all amidst a rocky landscape with overhanging trees under the moon, the stone of a pale celadon tone with brown veins

Provenance

C.C. Teng & Co., Taipei.

Catalogue Note

The superb plaque is remarkable for its skilful carving in achieving several layers of depth on a thin and flat jade pebble. The carver has utilised as much of the precious stone as possible to fashion a scene of figures in a landscape, the foliage of which is cleverly picked out by the russet skin of the stone. In its three-dimensionality, the setting helps illustrate the narrative in a naturalistic manner.

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.

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