24. M5014



Chinese jade carving of a recumbent ram, yang, holding in its mouth a swirling ruyi-cloud spray supporting a yin-yang, taiqi symbol, with long goatee beard, detailed horns and particularly plump body, the split hooves neatly tucked underneath.

The stone of even white colour.

2 ¼ inches, 5.8 cm long; 1 3/8 inches, 3.5 cm deep.

Qianlong, circa 1760.



Provenance & Additional Information

  • Sold by Christie’s New York in their auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 2nd December 1985, lot 45, pp. 30/1. This piece was known by Marchant to have come from the personal collection of Susan Chen, who later formed the Feng Wen Tang Collection.
  • A similar ram with a yin-yang symbol and clouds, from the collection of Dr. S. Y. Yip, was included by Ip Yee in Chinese Jade Carving, an exhibition jointly presented by the Urban Council, Hong Kong, and the Min Chiu Society, organised by the Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1983, no. 144, pp. 156/7, where the author notes, “A cloud issuing from the mouth of an animal carrying the taiqi symbol or a book is a popular motif of the Yuan period”, and was also included by Sydney Fung and Yeung Chun-tong in Exquisite Jade Carving, Figures, Animals and Ornaments, an exhibition held at the University Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Hong Kong, 1995-96, no. 123, p. 147.
  • A group of three rams, the larger with a cloud spray supporting a yin-yang symbol, is illustrated by Robert Kleiner in Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, no. 186, p. 237; another was included by Marchant in their 80th anniversary exhibition of Chinese Jades from Han to Qing, 2005, no. 74, pp. 78/9.
  • It is interesting to compare a plump water buffalo of similar size and material, included by Wu Hung and Brain Morgan in Bluett & Sons Ltd. exhibition of Chinese Jades from the Mu-Fei Collection, 1990, no. 71, where the authors note, “It is carved in jade of a pure tone and the execution of the carving is carried out with the care of an experienced craftsman”.
  • The ram, yang, is a symbol of filial piety, kindness and patience. The yin-yang symbol denotes the Chinese concept of the duality of the universe and is discussed by C. A. S. Williams in Outlines of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs, p. 454.