This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 302
虎形玉佩- 西漢早期, 公元前3世紀-前2世紀
This finely crafted plaque worked in openwork with an incised decoration represents the late chronological development of tiger-shaped jades which were carved in ancient China from the 5th century BC to the Western Han dynasty. Like the previous piece, number 33, this jade is also the counterpart to famous museum pieces (see information below). The very memorable silhouette is about the same in all of these pieces which, however, differ in their decoration. Since time immemorial, the tiger hu has been a symbol of manly courage and boldness, and has been considered a dispeller of demons. From its lowered head to the powerfully formed tail, this flat jade depicts the animal in a very husky, muscular manner. The big head has an incised eye with a long eyelash, wide snout and a pointed horn-like protuberance: the jaw is open and the teeth are neatly carved.The contours, for example, of the head, legs, claws or tail, are intensified by engraved lines which emphasize their shape. In addition, there are isolated decorative patterns composed of pointed “C” and “S” with volute tips. The long tail ends in volutes and a curled appendage protrudes from the centre of the back. The tiger’s coat is indicated by just a few lines. The original color of the jade is almost white and this tiger was produced using the most valuable white jade baiyu. The reddish brown and white spots which have developed due to aging lend the tiger as a whole an interesting and stimulating coloration. Very good translucence, very well preserved polish and equally good general condition.
There are several tiger-shaped carvings in collections which can be compared to the present one: especially noteworthy are the tigers with similar curls protruding from the back which have been selected here for comparison. Two such plaques are in the Freer/Sackler Galleries, acc. nos. F1932.43 and F1932.44. No. 108 in the publication “Radiant Stone” by Filippo Salviati is a similar, but larger piece with a somewhat differently depicted posture. The author identifies it as a “mythical animal”. An even huskier tiger is no. 438 in “Ancient Chinese Jades”, Fogg Art Museum, Massachusetts, which is also reproduced in both Salmony as well as Umehara’s book. A very similar piece is located in the American Freer Gallery of Art.
Provenance: From a Viennese collection