Lot 1507. A rare pale greenish-white jade mythical beast, longma, 18th century; 5 1/8 in. (13 cm.) long. Estimate USD 200,000 - USD 300,000. Price realised USD 242,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.
Well carved as a horse-like creature with patches of scales on the legs depicted as if rising from a sea of turbulent waves while grasping in its mouth the end of the cloth tied around a bundle of scrolls resting atop its back, the stone of even pale greenish-white color with areas of russet skin that highlight the carving on one side, wood stand, box.
Provenance: John Sparks Ltd., London.
Christie's, Hong Kong; Important Chinese Jades from the Personal Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, 28 November 2006, lot 1419.
Literature: R. Kleiner, Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, Hong Kong, 1996, pl. 193.
Exhibited: Christie's, New York, 13-26 March 2001.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 2003 - December 2004.
Note: The longma is an auspicious creature that, according to legend, emerged from the Luo River revealing itself to Fuxi, the first of the three legendary sovereigns of ancient China. The markings on the creature's back inspired Fuxi to invent the eight trigrams, which led to the invention of writing and calligraphy, represented by the scrolls on the creature's back.
The present beast is similar in style to the mythical creature found on a well-known group of Yongzheng-marked doucai porcelain dishes, such as the one in the Palace Museum collection, Beijing, illustrated in Kangxi.Yongzheng.Qianlong, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 206, no. 35. For a jade example of a horse carrying books, see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - Jadeware (III), Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 90.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I and Part II Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 24 March 2011