white jade finger citron, Qing dynasty, 18th Century

Lot 610. An outstanding large white jade finger citron, Qing dynasty, 18th Century; 9 in., 22.8 cm. Estimate 12,000 — 18,000 USD. Lot sold 288,000 USD. Photo: Sotheby's.

the very white stone accented by intense deep russet stains, very finely and naturalistically carved as a cluster of two finger citron or 'Buddha's-hand' fruit, one much larger than the other with finely elongated thick 'fingers' with curling tips, all issuing from an openwork stalk bearing further large lobed leaves with detailed incised veins and furling edges, the natural lumpy texture of the fruit fully captured by the subtle surface bumps and glossy polish of the stone.

NoteCompare a similar large white jade finger citron illustrated in The Minor Arts of China IV, Spink & Son Ltd., London, 1989, cat.no. 174; and another illustrated in Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages, London, 1975, fig. 406. See also a slightly smaller example from the Personal Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28th November 2006, lot 1396; and another formerly in the Jingguantang and the Dr. Philip Hatfield Collections, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 3rd November 1996, lot 501 and again in New York, 20th September 2005, lot 24.

The finger citron, or 'Buddha's hand', is inedible, but because of its strong citrus fragrance, is often used for scenting rooms and for offering at the Buddhist altar.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, including Property from the Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, 19-20 march 2007