Lot 46. A RARE AND MASTERFULLY CRAFTED ORNAMENT IN THE SHAPE OF AN ARCHER’S RING WITH A LIVELY DRAGON AND A MONKEY CARVED IN FULL RELIEF ON THE SIDES

Starting price:€ 6 500
Auction date:29.09.2017   16:00 UTC +02:00
Archive
ID 7384
Lot 46A RARE AND MASTERFULLY CRAFTED ORNAMENT IN THE SHAPE OF AN ARCHER’S RING WITH A LIVELY DRAGON AND A MONKEY CARVED IN FULL RELIEF ON THE SIDES
Jade. China, Han dynasty, 1st century BC - 1st
century AD
罕見龍猴紋韘形玉佩精品 - 漢代, 公元前1世
紀, 公元1世紀

Length 8.5 cm
長 8.5 厘米

This ornament is truly a rare example of the masterful artistry of the Han jade carvers. Shaped like a shield, the design of this ornament is derived from the outline of rings that were designed to protect an archer’s thumb when shooting arrows. During the Han dynasty such archer’s rings developed into purely ornamental items embellished with very highly crafted animal motifs, as the one here. The oblong shaped hole at the centre of the pendants and the pointed tips refer explicitly to the outline of archer’s rings, but flattened and as if seen from above.

A sculpted monkey and a dragon-like creature are carved on the sides of the central, shield-like element. The monkey, perched on the upper external edge of the jade, looks back and holds onto both sides of the top of the jade with its four limbs, while the head of the dragon is carved in the central cut-out area of the oval. The curled crest extends from its head onto the smooth jade base, while the neck curves along the inner border of the cut-out area to the bottom centre where its two front limbs curl upwards, framing the bottom edge. The sculptural body twists and wraps around the jade to the other side where one limb (the other is hidden) attaches itself to the main central section below the cut-out. As the crest on the front, the sinuous tail, which designs an s-shaped curve on the back, also attaches itself to the surface, where it becomes a decoration in low relief. The basic oval shape of the object contrasts with the pointed tip and the long pointed extension on the upper left side of the jade, which is a stylized version of the typical sloping, pointed area on the archer’s ring, where the thumb rests. Simple parallel etched lines and single grooves give a minimal decorative hint of the animals’ features and the movement of the curvy tail.

The jade is of a light green colour with a subtle russet tinge and black and white marble-type areas on the body of the dragon-like creature.

Literature comparison/Archaeological sites: A very similar carving is in the Samuel and Myrna Myers collection and illustrated in J.P. Desroches (ed.), Two Americans in Paris. A Quest for Asian Art, Paris 2016, no.174.

This jade is featured in the book by F. Salviati, 4000 Years of Chinese Archaic Jades, Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no.325.



Expertise: Prof. Dr. Filippo Salviati

From a Luxembourg collection
盧森堡舊藏

All jades in this catalogue have been professionally examined, authenticated and described by Prof. Fillipo Salviati. Professor Salviati teaches Chinese and Korean art at Sapienza University in Rome, in the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies. He is a world expert on archaic Chinese jades, having released multiple publications and being cited by renowned auction houses such as Sotheby’s.

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Galerie Zacke
Mariahilferstrasse 112
1070 Wien
Austria
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Preview26.09.2017 - 28.09.2017
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