A rare Chinese jade carving of a recumbent water buffalo. Laying with legs folded under his body, the buffalo extends his head forward. His ribbed horns curve backward, the tips almost meeting behind his neck. The artist’s skill is evident in the naturalistic slope of the buffalo’s spine over his rotund form as well as in the details of his face and tail. Carved of opaque yellow and brown mottled jade.
Age: Qing Dynasty
Dimensions: 3 1/2″ high x 7 5/8″ long x 6″ wide
Large jade carvings of water buffaloes have been recorded throughout the 20th century in important collections, including Rothschild, Bulgari and Goldschmidt collections. The large jade carving of a recumbent buffalo in the Fitzwilliam Museum, which the current buffalo is closely related to in quality and style of carving wa, according to museums records, removed from the Winter Palace, Beijing after the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and sold. Later entered the collection f Oscar Raphael, who bequeathed it to the Fitzwilliam in 1941. It has variously been dated Han, then Song and later Ming. In the absence of contemporary documents recording these large-scale jade carvings of animals, it is difficult to pinpoint a date to the Ming dynasty or even 17th century.
Auction Reference: Christies New York – Fine Chinese Ceramics, Painting and works of Art March 21st 2000 lot 126
Bonhoms London – Fine Asian Art November 7th 2005 lot 178