What Chinese Zodiac Animal Are You?

Launch Slideshow

The Chinese zodiac is one of the most frequently seen motifs in jade carving. Steeped in symbolism, it is believed that each of the twelve animals represent different characters and traits. Click through to discover the attributes of each of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac, ten of which are picked from the forthcoming Hong Kong auction of jade carvings.  

An Asian Collection of Jade Carvings
30 November | Hong Kong

What Chinese Zodiac Animal Are You?

  • A White Jade Figure of a Squirrel, Qing Dynasty. Estimate HK$20,000 - 30,000.

    Charming, intelligent, adaptable, sociable.
    Rats and squirrels are both symbols of fertility and abundance in Chinese art. They are popular motifs representing the wish for many children and ceaseless generations of sons and grandsons.


    The Years of the Rat include 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008...


  • A Brown and Celadon Jade Figure of a Buffalo, Song Dynasty. Estimate HK$100,000 - 150,000.
    Ox or Buffalo

    Reliable, determined, loyal, methodical, sensible, stable.
    The reclining buffalo, symbol of strength as well as tranquility, is a classic icon. Its bucolic aspect evokes the simple and true life in the countryside, and as the reputed mount of the philosopher Laozi, the buffalo also has strong Daoist connotations.


    Years of the Ox include 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009...

  • A Celadon and Brown Jade 'Tiger' Group, Probably Qing Dynasty. Estimate HK$30,000 - 40,000.

    Brave, ambitious, confident, dominance, charismatic.
    Skilfully carved in the round, this piece is notable for the clever use of the natural colouration of the stone to highlight the ferocious expression of the tiger who holds the chilong to the ground. The tiger is a magnificent creature in Chinese culture, it represents authority, courage and military prowess, depictions of tigers in combat are known in jade and bronze from as early as the Han dynasty.


    The Years of the Tiger include 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010...

  • A Large Celadon And Russet Jade 'Rabbit' Plaque, Song – Jin Dynasty. Estimate HK$150,000 - 200,000.
    Rabbit or Hare

    Sincere, empathic, caring, modest, diplomatic, sensitive.
    According to the ancient Chinese myths of the moon, rabbits are traditionally associated with the elixir of immortality and longevity. There was also a belief that the hare is impregnated through gazing at the moon, the present piece decorated with this motif may have embodied the wish for many descendants.


    The Years of the Rabbit include 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011...

  • A White Jade Reticulated 'Dragon' Plaque, Probably Ming Dynasty. Estimate HK$20,000 - 30,000.

    Charismatic, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, strong.
    The dragon is perhaps the most important motif in the repertoire of Chinese art. It represents the Emperor and is the symbol of imperial power.


    The Years of the Dragon include 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012...

  • A Small White Jade Carving of a Snake, Qing Dynasty. Lot Sold for HK$162,500 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

    Wise, humorous, brilliant.
    The Years of the Snake include 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013...

  • A White and Russet Jade Figure of a Horse, Yuan – Ming Dynasty. Estimate HK$26,000 - 30,000.

    Adventurous, adaptable, loyal, smart, ambitious, determined.
    One of the most popular animal subjects in Chinese art, the horse represents heritage, wealth and social status.


    The Years of the Horse include 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014...

  • A Superbly Carved White Jade 'Three Rams' Group, Qing dynasty, 18th Century. Lot sold for HK$687,500 at Sotheby's Hong Kong.
    Sheep or Goat

    Gentle, considerate, attractive, hardworking, persistent, thrift.
    The Years of the Sheep include 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015...

  • A White Jade 'Monkey' Group, Qing Dynasty. Estimate HK$20,000 - 30,000.

    Quick-witted, charming, versatile, smart, dynamic, adaptable.
    The monkey, hou, shares a homophone meaning ‘nobleman’ or ‘high official’ in Chinese. Occasionally represented with other animals, the monkey form multiple rebuses associated with success in imperial examinations and wishes for a successful career. It is also a symbol of longevity.


    The Years of the Monkey include 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016...

  • A White and Russet Jade Figure of a Rooster, Qing Dynasty, Kangixi Period or Earlier. Estimate HK$120,000 - 180,000.

    Confident, energetic, clever, flamboyant, flexible, stable.
    Small jade carvings of roosters are rare, and the present piece is a particularly exquisite example for its fine modelling. The skilful incorporation of the natural russet inclusions of the stone not only displays the carver’s appreciation of the precious material but also heightens the overall sense of three-dimensionality.


    The Years of the Rooster include 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017...

  • A Pale Celadon Jade Figure of a Dog, Ming Dynasty Or Earlier. Estimate HK$30,000 - 50,000.

    Trustworthy, sociable, brave, diligent, stable, lively.
    The Years of the Dog include 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018...

  • A White Jade Figure of a Pig, Late Ming – Early Qing Dynasty Estimate HK$20,000 - 30,000.

    Philanthropic, honourable, determined, optimistic, amiable, honest.
    Jade carvings of pigs rendered with bold angular cuts and in reclining poses were made since the Han dynasty.


    The Years of the Pig include 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019...


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