Lot 3412
  • 3412


600,000 - 800,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • 4 cm, 1 5/8  in.
depicted with the face held high and looking almost upwards, the figure rendered kneeling with the body upright and the hands resting on the knees, portrayed with large eyes, a broad nose and a prominent chin, flanked by a pair of large ears, the arms, back and thighs of the figure decorated with scrolling motifs, the stone of a variegated celadon and caramel-brown colour accentuated with an opaque-beige patch, the back of the head pierced with an aperture


Alvin Lo Oriental Art Ltd, New York.


Robert P. Youngman, The Youngman Collection of Chinese Jades from Neolithic to Qing, Chicago, 2008, pl. 37.

Catalogue Note

Kneeling figures of this type are perhaps among the rarest jade artefacts from the Shang dynasty. Examples carved with related features have been found at the tomb of Lady Hao, dated to around 1200 B.C., suggesting that this piece was made at around the same time. While the identification and function of these kneeling figures is a matter of speculation, their rarity suggests that ‘they are likely to have been extremely valuable and to have offered Fu Hao some sort of power or access to power’ (Jessica Rawson, Mysteries of Ancient China, London, 1996, p. 108). Five kneeling figures from the tomb of Fu Hao are illustrated in Tomb of Lady Hao at Yinxu in Anyang, Beijing, 1980, pls 129 and 130, together with two related jade heads, pl. 131, nos 1 and 2; another from the collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, in the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, was included in the exhibition Ancient Chinese Jades, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, 1975, cat. no. 121; and another from the collection of Jay C. Leff, was sold in our New York rooms, 25th October 1975, lot 98. Compare also a seated figure with knees raised, illustrated in Teng Shu P’ing, One Hundred Jades from the Lantien Shanfang collection, Taipei, 1995, pl 37, together with a jade head, pl. 36.

Kneeling figures are also found on bronzes; see for example a bronze container supported on four kneeling figures, recovered from the Western Zhou tomb of the Marquis of Jin, Shanxi province, illustrated in Gems from Excavations of Cemetery or Marquis of Jin in Shanxi Province, Shanghai, 2002, pl. 165.