Lot 894. A rare green-glazed pottery figure of a tortoise, Han dynasty (206 BC - AD 220); 9 ¼ in. (23.5 cm.) wide. Estimate USD 6,000 - USD 8,000. Price realised USD 9,375. © Christie's Image Ltd 2020.
Modeled with head raised, the carapace undecorated, covered with a green glaze that has partially degraded to a pale golden-green color.
Provenance: Cathay Gallery, Chicago, 12 June 1989.
The James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, Chicago.
Note: One of the four spiritually endowed creatures, the tortoise is rich with Chinese symbolism. Tortoise carapaces were used for divination during the Shang dynasty (circa 1600-1100 BC), and the first Chinese pictographs were inscribed on tortoise carapaces and animal bones.
Christie's. Sacred and Imperial: The James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection Part II, New York, 24 September 2020