Finely carved in the form of a standing mythical beast, bixie, with its head proudly facing forwards. The four paws accented with sharp talons, the facial features well defined with bulging eyes, its mouth open in a snarl revealing fangs, below a single horn between pointed ears at the forehead, the bifurcated tail curled alongside its haunch, the hair of its tail defined with fine incisions, the large scrolled wings precisely carved with fine details.
Note that the single-horn variation of the Pixiu species is actually called Tian Lu and said to go out into the world in search of gold and other forms of wealth and, bringing it home to its Master, the bixie female of the Pixiu species, is then said to hold onto it, guarding it within the home of the Master. It is therefore regarded as symbol of wealth protection.
The large, scrolled wings are a typical feature of the most important Han Dynasty bixie examples carved of jade. They are rare on later examples, as they represent a significant challenge even to a master carver.
Weight: 221 grams
Dimensions: Length 11,5 cm
Condition: Excellent. A few natural age-hairlines
Provenance: French private collection
Literature comparison: Chinese Ivories from the Kwan Collection, Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1990, lot 195. (for an ivory carving of Liu Hai, showing similar carving style and technique as well as some resemblance in the detail work and the type of ivory used for the carving, dated 17th-18th century)
Auction result comparison: FINE CHINESE ART, Bonham's, 6 Nov 2014, LONDON, lot 293. (for a carved jade showing a bixie with comparable large and prominent wings, dated to the 16th/17th century) FINE CHINESE CERAMICS & WORKS OF ART, Sotheby’s, 08 APRIL 2010, HONG KONG, lot 2059. (for a carved jade also showing a bixie with prominent wings, dated to the Ming dynasty)