A LARGE CELADON AND RUSSET JADE 'BOY AND BUFFALO' GROUP
extremely well carved in the round with the recumbent buffalo slightly raised on its right foreleg, the head lifted and turned slightly to the left, its large ridged horns resting against its back, the long bushy tail swept to one side, a small boy playfully crawling over the buffalo's back and holding a rope tied through the animal's nostrils, the stone of a grayish-celadon tone with extensive russet inclusions
Length 7⅛ in., 17.9 cm
Overall in good condition with a few scattered small chips and nicks to edges. The stone with some natural fissures including a small patch to the buffalo's belly.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
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C.T. Loo, New York, 4th May 1946.
Collection of Stephen Junkunc, III (d. 1978).
Deftly modeled in the round, this charming sculpture depicts a reclining buffalo, a symbol of strength and tranquillity, a classic subject in Chinese painting. When portrayed with a young boy riding on its back, this motif represents obedience and serenity, as well as spring and agriculture because of its role in pulling ploughs.
Compare a white jade carving, but fashioned with the buffalo’s head turned towards its tail, sold twice at Christie’s Hong Kong, 18th May 1989, lot 748, and again 28th October 2002, lot 616. A related figure, but with the boy holding a spray of millet, was included in the exhibition A Romance with Jade from the De An Tang Collection, Palace Museum, Beijing, 2004, cat. no. 79; a slightly smaller example was sold in these rooms, 8th October 2010, lot 2800; and another was sold at Christie's London, 4th November 2008, lot 7. See also a carving depicting a boy on a standing buffalo illustrated in Zhongguo yuqi quanji [Complete collection of Chinese jades], vol. 6, Shijiazhuang, 1993, pl. 265.
A popular motif from the Song dynasty (960-1279), the poets Su Shi and Huang Tingjian (1045-1105) and their painter friend Li Gonglin (c. 1041-1106) are among those first associated with this theme. From the 11th century, buffalo herd-boys exemplified for many scholars and officials the simple life far away from ceremony, ritual and social obligation. See a hanging scroll painted by Li Tang (c. 1050-after 1130), Herd Boy with Water Buffalo and Calf (11th or 12th century), in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, published in Ann Elizabeth Barrott Wicks (ed.), Children in Chinese Art, Honolulu, 2002, p. 54, fig. 2.6. Two mottled jade carvings attributed to the Song and Yuan periods, from the Victor Shaw Collection, were included in the exhibition Chinese Jades from Han to Ch'ing, Asia Society, New York, 1980, cat. nos 46 and 47, together with a white jade carving of two boys and a buffalo, from the Gerald Godfrey Collection, cat. no. 48.
童子牧牛題材，流行於宋代，最先以此為題的文人包括蘇軾、黃庭堅以及其好友李公麟。十一世紀開始，童子牧牛主題成為遠離世俗煩囂、禮儀及公務，追求簡樸生活之代表。台北國立故宮博物院收藏李唐童子水牛及乳牛圖手卷（作於十一或十二世紀），載於 Ann Elizabeth Barrott Wicks 編，《Children in Chinese Art》，檀香山，2002年，頁54，圖2.6。參考兩玉雕例，斷代宋、元，出自Victor Shaw 收藏，曾展於《Chinese Jades from Han to Ch'ing》， Asia House Gallery，紐約，1980，編號 46及47，該展並包括一白玉例，刻劃兩童子與水牛，出自 Gerald Godfrey 收藏，編號48。