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Lot 14. A white and grey jade 'Crested Owl' pendant, Shang Dynasty; 3 1/8in (8cm) across. Estimate US$ 15,000 - 20,000 (€ 12,000 - 17,000). © Bonhams 2001-2021

Of curving outline, the flattened pendant carved with a large notched crest above an owl head with small ears and hooked beak, the body with simple scrolls delineating the wing feathers, terminating in a large coiled tail and simple clawed feet, pierced at both ends for suspension, the stone of even white tone with grey-black inclusions at the tail, traces of red pigments.

Property from the Estate of Robert P. Youngman. 

NoteFor a pendant of near identical form but of flatter design from the British Museum, see Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, 1973-74/1974-75, London, 1976, in a special edition for the exhibition 'Chinese Jade throughout the ages', organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain and The Oriental Ceramic Society at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1st May - 22nd June 1975, p. 37, no. 63. Unlike ours, it is calcified, but it does have some dark markings within the matrix. Another is illustrated by Sherman Lee,China 5000 Years, Innovation and Transformation in the Arts, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1997, no. 10 (3), and was unearthed in 1976 from the Fu Hao tomb no. 5 in Anyang, Henan Province and now in the Henan Province Museum, Zhengzhou.

For another Shang dynasty, Anyang period (circa 1200 BCE) crested bird pendant, see John Finlay, The Chinese Collection, Selected Works from the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, 2003, pp. 110-111, no. 24. Among the many jades discovered in the Fu Hao tomb were twenty-one crested bird pendants. Jessica Rawson has outlined the development of these birds and their relationship with Shang human figures with similar crests, see Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, British Museum, London, 1995, pp. 218-219 no. 12:14.

See also another example illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan Cang Wenwu Zhenpin Quanji (Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum) Jadeware I, Hong Kong, 1995, p. 70, no. 60.

Bonhams. Chinese Works of Art and Paintings, 15 March 2021, 10:00 EDT, New York