S old alongside our Chinese Art online auction is a selection of sixty-two Select Jades from an English Private Collection. Brimming with auspicious symbolism and reflective of Chinese culture through the ages, this sale showcases the rich versatility of the material often made for personal enjoyment. The kaleidoscopic range of forms includes ornaments and scholar’s objects, as well as a delightful group of animal and figural carvings. Leading the sale is a well carved pale celadon jade gu vase carved with a feathery-tailed phoenix perched high upon rockwork.
In Chinese jades, form and design not only followed the function of a piece but also considered the inherent beauty and rarity of the material. Jade was a rare and precious commodity; the use of this material was restricted to objects that were highly coveted and often served as emblems of rank or social status. Several small pieces in this sale illustrate the ingenious use of jade in objects of daily use, among them several intricately carved and pierced belt plaques, belt hooks and finials, and a fine group of white and pale celadon jade thumb rings.
Jade has long been recognised as a highly symbolic material throughout Chinese history. The designs of jades in ancient China were often carefully chosen to emphasise auspicious connotations, translating to convey various auspicious blessings. This sale offers an array of jades with forms and designs exuding auspicious symbolism and hidden meanings. Amongst the highlights is a white jade plaque carved in the form of a lock (lot 244), shaped by combining two seemingly unrelated animals - a bat (fu) and a crouching deer (lu)) enclosed within a central cartouche, thus forming the four-character pictorial pun, fulu shuangquan (may both fortune and wealth prevail).