Jade. China, early Ming dynasty, 14th-15th century
The exquisite scabbard slide is quite sculptural, with a general rounded shape and a carved design of a dragon in high relief as seen from above, emerging from amidst the clouds. The head of the dragon is decorated with bumps that describe the snout and eyes, and carved lines for the eyebrows and shape of the head. Parallel carved lines run along its back, accentuating the curve of the body, and other carved curls represent the limbs, tail, and curves of the clouds.
The jade is covered with mottled areas of light and dark brown, and black spots, especially in the central part on top, which have rendered the originally translucent light green jade opaque in those areas. The underside is covered with many scattered white patches and some black spots that are particularly noticeable in the cut-out area where the scabbard would have passed.
Compare a related jade scabbard slide decorated with a chilong amid clouds at Christie’s New York in Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on 22-23 March 2012, Lot 1873, sold for USD 15,000.
LENGTH 10 cm, WIDTH 2.6 cm
Provenance: Old Austrian private collection. Galerie Zacke, Fine Art from China and Tibet, 7 April 2018, lot 116. Collection of Prof. Filippo Salviati, acquired from the above.
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