Vase with Canine Creature Handles 15.9cm

The faintly green tinted white nephrite of this piece is very pure and translucent and the contrasting ferrous, possibly plus cinnabar or ochre red stains add interest and beauty to an otherwise  monochrome coloration.  There is, however, little evidence of burial residue adhesion outside or inside.  This does not preclude the possibility of having been buried in niche of a ‘dry tomb’, however, as this writer has observed upon visiting the interior of a perfectly preserved and dry masonry lined Han dynasty tomb, a jade object can look as ‘new’ as the day it was placed there.  And although this piece may be considered by some as 18th C. Fang-gu or others as Song archaistic, we believe the style of bas relief carving on the body and the canine type creature ‘handles’ precludes these.

Among 4-legged realistic creatures that inspired Chinese jade carving, the feline took priority and even hybridized features with reptiles for the feline dragon.  Dogs were not in the running.  Only in pre Islamic Persia and under favorable consideration as being auspicious and symbolizing some virtuous characteristics within the Zoroastrian religious philosophy, did they find proper respect for use in art.  And although the predominant design element on the body of this vase is an interpretation of the Tao-tieh mask, secondary design elements and the canine type 3-D ‘handles’ point to Central Asian influence.

Among 4-legged realistic creatures that inspired Chinese jade carving, the feline took priority and even hybridized features with reptiles for the feline dragon.  Dogs were not in the running.  Only in pre Islamic Persia and under favorable consideration as being auspicious and symbolizing some virtuous characteristics within the Zoroastrian religious philosophy, did they find proper respect for use in art.  And although the predominant design element on the body of this vase is an interpretation of the Tao-tieh mask, secondary design elements and the canine type 3-D ‘handles’ point to Central Asian influence.

The faintly green tinted white nephrite of this piece is very pure and translucent and the contrasting ferrous, possibly plus cinnabar or ochre red stains add interest and beauty to an otherwise  monochrome coloration.  There is, however, little evidence of burial residue adhesion outside or inside.  This does not preclude the possibility of having been buried in niche of a ‘dry tomb’, however, as this writer has observed upon visiting the interior of a perfectly preserved and dry masonry lined Han dynasty tomb, a jade object can look as ‘new’ as the day it was placed there.  And although this piece may be considered by some as 18th C. Fang-gu or others as Song archaistic, we believe the style of bas relief carving on the body and the canine type creature ‘handles’ precludes these.


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