Lot 3250. A rare white marble scroll weight, Tang dynasty (618-907); 7.6cm., 3 in.Estimate 150,000 — 180,000 HKDLot Sold 187,500 HKD. Courtesy Sotheby's.

naturalistically carved as a crouching rabbit, all supported on a six-lobed cushion base, the marble with extensive encrustation from burial.

ProvenanceSotheby's London, 2nd December 1974, lot 47.
British Rail Pension Fund.
Sotheby's London, 12th December 1989, lot 30.

Notehis piece is a charming example of Tang animal carving which, despite its small size, possesses the sense of vitality and imminent movement that is characteristic of the period. Compare small white marble carvings of rabbits from this period similarly carved in crouching poses, but on rectangular bases, such as one sold in these rooms, 13th December 1988, lot 20; another sold in our New York rooms, 7th December 1983, lot 104; and a slightly larger example, from the Richard C. Bull Collection, sold in our New York rooms, 6th December 1983, lot 252. A pair of small free-standing marble rabbits was also sold in our New York rooms, 29th November 1988, lot 69.

In ancient China the moon was represented by a white disc containing a rabbit, and the rabbit is the fourth animal in the twelve-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. The current year is the year of the rabbit.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 08 april 2011