Chinese large jade carving of a seated single-horned open-mouthed pixiu, with raised head, bulging eyes, pronounced spine and claws, detailed hairwork to the body, mane, tail, jowls, eyebrows and a long goatee beard above the ribbed chest, the body with detailed flames and scrolls on the haunches and further hairwork to the edges of the legs.

The stone white with natural brown mottling and markings.

4 ¾ inches, 12.1 cm high; 4 ½ inches, 11.5 cm long.

Ming dynasty, 15th/17th century.


2 fissures and natural flaws.

Provenance & Additional Information

  • Formerly in the collection of Mrs. Sarah Garrett.
  • Sold by Christie’s London in their auction of Fine Chinese Jades, 26th April 1976, lot 118, plate 27.
  • A single-horned mythical animal seated in a similar position, from the collection of Colonel Mary M. Munro, was included by Marchant in their 75th anniversary exhibition of Post-Archaic Chinese Jades from Private Collections, 2000, no. 72, p. 92; another from the Guan-fu Collection with a floral spray in its mouth is illustrated by James C. Y. Watt in Chinese Jades from Han to Ch’ing, 1980, no. 55, p. 74; another winged example was included by Brian Morgan in Naturalism & Archaism: Chinese Jades from the Kirknorton Collection, no. 45.
  • A related two-horned squatting mythical animal with similar detailed work, in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, is illustrated by René-Yvon Lefebvre d’Argencé in Chinese Jades in the Avery Brundage Collection, plate XXXIII, p. 80/1; another in the Museum of East Asian Art, Bath, is illustrated by Angus Forsyth and Brian McElney in Jades from China, no. 231, p. 318.
  • The pixiu is a mythical creature often referred to in the West as a “chimera”. In China it is considered a protector of one’s wealth as it has a great appetite for gold, silver and jewels.