A VERY RARE WHITE AND RUSSET JADE 'SCHOLAR, MONKEY AND HORSE' GROUP, LATE MING DYNASTY
A VERY RARE WHITE AND RUSSET JADE 'SCHOLAR, MONKEY AND HORSE' GROUP
LATE MING DYNASTY
well modeled in the round with a scholar, attendant, horse and monkey all gathered around a deep basin into which the boy pours a pail of water as the scholar standing behind looks on, to their side the horse is tethered to a post with a monkey on its back, all supported on a rockwork base, the softly polished stone with pale russet and sugar-brown inclusions
Width 3¾ in., 9.4 cm
A small bruise and a chip to the back of the base, and a shallow minor abrasion to one area of the pail's edge. Scattered minute nicks, the stone with a few natural fissures. The stone slightly dry.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
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C.T. Loo, New York, 19th April 1951.
Collection of Stephen Junkunc, III (d. 1978).
This charming carving is highly unusual in its combination of a monkey on a horse and two figures. While carvings of a monkey and horse, a figure with a horse and a scholar and boy are well known, no other piece that fuses all four elements appear to have been published. The sensitive rendering of each figure in the round, the intricate details, and variety of textures attest to the carver's skill and ability to capture such a complex scene in jade.
Compare a similarly fashioned sculpture of a man grooming a horse, also on a rocky base, from the Avery Brundage Collection in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, included in the exhibition, Chinese Jades from Han to Ch'ing, Asia Society, New York, 1980, cat. no. 67, where it is noted that the rock base is significant for dating as 'such "landscaped" stands do tend to place jade carvings in the Ming period' (p. 84). See also a carving of three immortals with two boys, a deer and a crane, all standing on a rock base, sold in these rooms, 3rd June 1992, lot 48; one of a monkey in front of a standing horse tied to a post, sold at Bonhams London, 8th November 2018, lot 184; and another, but attributed to the Qianlong period, sold at Christie's London, 17th May 2013, lot 1390.
The depiction of a monkey atop a horse forms the rebus ma shang feng hou, conveying the wish for a speedy promotion. Additionally, as Terese Tse Bartholomew notes in Hidden Meanings: Symbolism in Chinese Art, San Francisco, 2006, p. 118, the combination of a monkey with a horse also stems from an ancient Indian belief that monkeys could prevent horses from falling ill, as seen in early agricultural guidebooks such as Han E's Essential Sishi zuanyao / Notes for the Four Seasons and Li Shizhen's Compendium of Bencao gangmu / Materia Medica.
比較一風格相近例，雕馬及馬僮，亦作相類山石底，出自 Avery Brundage 收藏，現存於舊金山亞洲藝術博物館，曾展於《Chinese Jades from Han to Ch’ing》，亞洲協會，紐約，1980年，編號67，展覽圖錄論述，此類山石底為斷代關鍵，此類底的玉雕多數可斷代至明（見頁84）。另比一例，雕三位仙人與童子二人及鶴鹿，亦為山石底，售於紐約蘇富比1992年6月3日，編號48；再比一例，雕靈猴駿馬，售於倫敦邦瀚斯2018年11月8日，編號 184；亦見一例，斷代乾隆，售於倫敦佳士得2013年5月17日，編號1390。