87
87
A WHITE JADE CARVING OF A THREE-LEGGED TOAD
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimate
300,000400,000
LOT SOLD. 1,875,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
87
A WHITE JADE CARVING OF A THREE-LEGGED TOAD
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimate
300,000400,000
LOT SOLD. 1,875,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Roger Keverne - 50 Years in the Trade

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Hong Kong

A WHITE JADE CARVING OF A THREE-LEGGED TOAD
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
the substantial white stone skilfully worked in the round as a three-legged toad portrayed with bulging eyes and grasping a sprig of leafy osmanthus in its mouth, a small cluster of florets and leaves depicted issuing from the sprig and extending onto the amphibian's back, the back naturalistically rendered with characteristic bumpy and leathery skin, wood stand
10.6 cm, 4 1/8  in.
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Catalogue Note

This carving is remarkable for its intricate attention to detail as seen by the textured back of the toad; a related figure is illustrated in Roger Keverne, Jade, London, 1991, pl. 92; one was sold in our New York rooms, 18th/19th April 1989, lot 250; another, from the collections of Lady Beaumont, Lauretta O. Westrich and Myron Larson, was sold in our London rooms 12th November 1974, lot 61, and again at Christie’s New York, 20th September 2013, lot 1682; and a slightly smaller example, from the Hei-Chi collection, was sold in these rooms, 8th April 2010, lot 2004.

The association of the three-legged toad and osmanthus recalls the omen of Changong zhe gui (‘to clutch osmanthus on the moon’), representing success in the imperial examinations. In ancient times it was believed that there was a mythical three-legged toad residing in the legendary Guanghan Palace on the moon, which was sometimes referred to as Changong (‘Palace of the Toad’). Blooming during the eighth lunar month when the results of the ancient imperial examinations were released, osmanthus came to symbolize literary success and the flowering of an official career. In addition, the Chinese name for osmanthus, gui, is a pun for the word noble or honour. The story of the woodsman Wu Gang’s ceaseless attempt to chop down a mysterious self-healing osmanthus tree on the moon further supported the plant as an appropriate analogy of the seemingly impossibility of passing the civil examinations. According to the folklore, the Goddess of the Moon would bestow an osmanthus branch to the scholar who has passed the metropolitan examination and earned the jinshi degree, the prerequisite for a career as a high official.

Roger Keverne - 50 Years in the Trade

|
Hong Kong