China, 206 BC to 220 AD. Finely carved, the bird facing forward, well detailed with round eyes, distinct elegantly curved brows, an inward-curved beak holding a small ball, and a feather issuing from the head, the wings tucked against its sides, the plumage finely defined with incised lines and carved grooves, the underside with a circular recess for attachment to a staff.
Opinion: The present lot is an exceptional example of an early jade carving representing the pinnacle of Han dynasty jade craftsmanship. This superbly carved bird is remarkable in two aspects: the dynamic design combined with the attention to naturalistic details.
Provenance: From the private collection of Professor Filippo Salviati, Rome, Italy. A professor of archeology and art history at the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies at the Sapienza University of Rome, Prof. Salviati has researched and published extensively on Chinese archaic art.
Condition: Very good condition with some old wear and weathering, few minuscule nicks, microscopic encrustations and surface alterations. The stone with natural inclusions and fissures, some of which have developed into small hairline cracks over time.
Weight: 90.3 g
Dimensions: Length 9 cm
In Chinese legend, Liu Bang (c. 256-195 BC), Emperor Gaozu of the Han dynasty, was once assisted by a divine turtledove to escape from his arch-rival Xiang Yu (232-202 BC), and became a symbol of benevolent rule and heavenly protection. Staffs or swords with mythical bird finials made from jade were also recorded in Han dynasty literature as special gifts given to the elders of the aristocracy to manifest benevolent rule and heavenly protection.
See a white jade sword pommel in the form of a mythical eagle, Western Han dynasty, excavated from a tomb at Longgangsi, Shaanxi Province, illustrated by Gu Fang, The Complete Collection of Jades Unearthed in China, vol. 14, Shaanxi, Beijing, 2005, page 149. Note the closely related head with similar round eyes below distinct curved brows and inward-curved beak, as well as the underside with a circular recess for attachment to a staff.
Auction result comparison:
Auction: Bonhams Hong Kong, 5 April 2016, lot 29
Price: HKD 1,720,000 or approx. EUR 244,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A pale green jade turtledove, Western Han dynasty
Expert remark: Compare the feather issuing from the head. Note the size (6 cm) and the similarities in the material.
中國，公元前206 年至公元 220 年。青玉質地溫潤，雕斑鳩作蹲伏狀，頭部突出，鳥翎自鳥首向背部延伸，身上琢出勾轉的平行線紋以示其翅膀，身下有收縮的足部，鳥尾刻出下垂的尾羽，工藝精巧。此類臥鳩流行於漢代中期至東漢，用途為鳩杖的杖首。
來源：義大利羅馬Filippo Salviati教授私人收藏，Filippo Salviati教授是羅馬大學東亞研究所考古系及藝術史系教授。他對中國古代文物以及玉器進行了廣泛研究並出版了很多專著。
傳説漢高祖劉邦 (公元前約 256-195 年)，還沒有統一天下時，有一次和項羽 (公元前232-202 年) 作戰，受一隻斑鳩庇佑得以逃脫。劉邦很感激斑鳩，即位為皇帝之後，就做鳩杖，賜給老人。
價格：HKD 1,720,000（相當於今日EUR 244,500）
專家評論：比較頭部特色。請注意尺寸(6 厘米) ，以及相似的材質。
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