Lot 801. A mottled pale greenish-white and russet jade rectangular pillow, China, Ming dynasty (1368-1644) or later; 6 7/8 in. (17.4 cm.) long. Estimate USD 10,000 - USD 15,000. Price realised USD 60,000. © Christie’s Image Ltd 2019
Pierced through the center with a wide circular aperture, the well-polished stone with a large, long fissure across one end, other smaller fissures in the base and traces of a drilling ridge in the center of the aperture, hongmu stand.
Provenance: Alice Boney, Tokyo, 1968.
The Irving Collection, no. 001.
Literature: Anita Christy, "The Irving Collection: At Home in The Metropolitan Museum of Art", Orientations, November 1991, pp. 61-67, fig. 2.
Note: In 1968, the Irvings met Alice Boney (1901-1988), the doyenne of Asian Art dealers in New York, who was then living in Japan and who became their principal mentor for appreciating and collecting Asian art. This jade pillow from Alice Boney was the first substantive piece of Asian art the Irvings collected and remained as one of their sentimental favorites. Mr. Irving remarked in an interview that this jade pillow appealed to him “simply because I liked the feel of the stone” (see Anita Christy, "The Irving Collection: At Home in The Metropolitan Museum of Art", Orientations, November 1991, p. 63).
Jade pillows of this type are very unusual. A similar jade pillow from the collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth was sold at Christie’s, New York, 17-18 March 2016, lot 1664.
A white and russet-stained white jade pillow, possibly Ming dynasty or later; 7 1/8 in. (18.3 cm.) wide. Sold for 3,250 USD at Christie’s, New York, 17-18 March 2016, lot 1664. © Christie’s Image Ltd 2016
Ceramic pillows of similar form were popular during the Tang (AD 618-917) and Song dynasties (AD 960-1278), as exemplified by various examples from the Yeung Wing Tak Collection, illustrated in Chinese Ceramic Pillows from Yeung Wing Tak Collection, The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, 1984, nos. 8, 9, 13, 48, and 70.
Christie's. Lacquer, Jade, Bronze, Ink: The Irving Collection Evening Sale, New York, 20 March 2019