M3234

Openwork pendant in the form of a squirrel, songshu, with detailed hairwork to the tail, amongst grapes and leaves, with naturalistic branches, the stone white, the leaves with russet and honey markings.

2 ⅜ inches, 6 cm long.

Qianlong, 1736-1795.

• From the collection of Professor Claus J. Mueller (1923-2010), acquired in Hong Kong in the early 1960s.

• A similar pendant is illustrated by Xue Gui Sheng in Zhong Guo Yu Qi Shang Jian, ‘Appreciation and Examination of Chinese Jades’, no. 370, p. 197; another is illustrated by Thomas Fok in The Splendour of Jade, The Songzhutang Collection of Jade, no. 98, p. 114, where the author notes, ‘the pendant is carved to portray a lone squirrel clawing on grape vines clothed with dense leaves as well as bearing multiple fruits. Grapes are well known for occurring in abundance while having numerous seeds; this phenomenon provides the auspicious foretelling of fertility and many progeny. Moreover, squirrel in Chinese is shu of the mouse group, which also includes the rat, the animal on the traditional clock system at the hour of zi, eleven to twelve o’clock in the evening, which is phonetically identical with zi, meaning son. Thus, the presence of the squirrel further emphasizes offspring.’

• A related squirrel and grape pendant, enveloped by leaves is illustrated by Chen Qi Zhen & Liu Jing Xiang in Chinese Jade from the Stony Collection, pp. 122/3.

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