TABLE SCREEN WITH LONGEVITY THEME.
Mid-late Qing Dynasty, China. Nephrite: very light greenish-gray with lesser areas of very light yellow-brown. Of rectangular shape and with sensitive relief carving on both sides, this jade table screen is an excellent example of a much prized form of the late Ming and Qing dynasties. Intended as an adornment of a scholar’s desk or presented on a free-standing table in an elegant household, such screens serve both as superb decoration, indicating the elevated status and taste of their owners, and as spur to the imagination of the contemplative viewer. Some screens depict didactic scenes of the type favored by the earlier Qing emperors (such as the rice-planting and harvesting cycle: Laing, p. 76. #16), while others depict legends (such as the Eight Horses of Mu Wang: Na, pp. 144-45, #184) and paradises. The major source of the instructional, legendary and imaginative images which appear in eighteenth century jade screens was contemporary painting and woodblock prints (Laing, p. 63). Simply cut in slab form, with plain sides intended for easy placement in the frame of the typical formal hardwood stands, this jade piece was worked intelligently with strongly diagonal lines which conceal minor flaws and reveal beautiful sections of the material. The differing levels of technical and aesthetic approaches possible among Qing jades depicting roughly similar subject matter are apparent when comparing such details as the piercing of the pine branches and roots of this work with those of others, which seem more pedestrian in their placement and overall effect. From base to top, the low-relief and incised designs of this screen depict the type of populated outdoor setting as found on other great mountains, but the work achieves its effect through minute, detailed effects carefully carved in various relief levels from the flat background. Many of the standard themes are apparent here – a rapidly moving river which foams to a wavy conclusion at the base of one side of this slab; empty pavilions awaiting guests; elders, including the God of Longevity with his staff and peach together with servants, enjoying the scenery; and emblems of longevity such as pine trees, lingzhi along one cliff face, and deer (See #40; Palm, p. 118, #118; SHK 5/20/87, #705; SPBNY 2/28/90, #231A; NPM, #46; Kuwayama, #44; Munakata, p. 172, #90). The concern with specificity even with routine forms is apparent in the animation of the deer, one cavorting joyously along the stream while the other grazes (Schedel, pp. 108-111, pl. 39-40). Both front and back contribute to the overall message of longevity and both are most successfully carved, their forms clear and the direction of flow legible. Reference: The Yangtze River Collection, Later Chinese Jades published by Helga Wall-Apelt, 1993. SIZE: 8.63″ x 6.38″ x .63″. (21.9 x 16.2 x 1.6 cm.) CONDITION: Well carved and polished. Very good. 9-95171 (20,000-30,000) – Lot 9Click here to view rotating image
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