Other Jades in National Palace Museum, part2
Welcome to the National Palace Museum's collection of other jades! Here, you can explore some of the most exquisite pieces of jade from China's imperial past. We have a variety of different jades on display here, including a Jade Gui Tablet, a Jade Flower-holder in the Shape of Fish-Creature, a Jade Divine Beast and a Jade Horn-shaped Cup. These are all beautiful works of art that tell us about the craftsmanship and skill of Chinese artisans during this time period. Come take a look at these incredible artifacts today!
1. Jade Gui Tablet
This jade gui tablet is ivory yellow on both sides, with the lower half of the reverse side having a red sienna tinge. The cutting edge of the blade is much darker, almost black, and exhibits many nicks. The other end, where the tablet was held, also shows signs of damage. This end has a hole bored through it, with smooth walls The middle section of both sides of the tablet are carved with mysterious motifs in shallow relief, whilst the upper and lower sections have been carved with a poem written by the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795) of the Qing dynasty and the emperor's seal. The wooden stand was made in the Qing dynasty imperial workshops. Implements fashioned from quality jade were mainly used as ritual objects symbolizing the power of the ruler, and were given the name gui in the ancient Chinese system of etiquette and rites. The convention was to hold the tablet with the blade facing up. This piece originates from the Mt. Tai area of China from around 4300 to 3800 years ago According to historical records, this area was occupied during this period by the Dongyi people, a name often translated as the Eastern Barbarians, and so the motifs carved onto the middle sections of the tablet likely represent the gods or ancestors of these people. These carvings are now very faint. On one side is a god or ancestor with a spiral eye and jewelled headgear decorated on either side with phoenix feathers On the other side is an eagle, rendered in an abstract shape that mirrors the shape of the headgear worn by the figure on the other side, flying up to the heavens
2. Jade flower-holder in the Shape of Fish-Creature
In general, "creating auspiciousness" was a very important design consideration in the forms and decoration of Chinese antiquities, and auspicious decoration and people's desire for blessings and good fortune have always been inextricably bound. Not only has it been handed for generation upon generation, it has also been represented in a myriad forms and manifestations. The general external appearance of this work is that of a fish, jumping up with its tail curled as the area beneath has been carved in the form of rolling waves.
3. Jade Divine Beast
This work depicts a winged divine beast carved in the round. The beast has a tiger head, with mouth open and teeth bared, and a goatee on the chin. The top of the head is covered by a curly mane, and a long tail can be seen at the back, along with two wings, flattened at the sides of the body and extending back from the chest. This work depicts a winged divine beast carved in the round The beast has a tiger head, with mouth open and teeth bared, and a goatee on the chin The top of the head is covered by a curly mane, and a long tail can be seen at the back, along with two wings, flattened at the sides of the body and extending back from the chest The hind legs are folded in a kneeling position on the ground, with the beast sitting on its heels The saying, "Like a tiger with wings", refers to something strong that has gotten even stronger, to the point where it becomes difficult to counter This winged divine beast conveys just such an impression The designer of this work has artfully used the natural red and white hues of the jade material, intricately carving the nose, forehead, two ears, and wavy mane on the red-colored portions, and thereby creating a curved outline from head to tail that generates strong visual tension Such an ingenious design makes this work one of the finest examples of Han era divine beast round carvings
4. Jade Horn-shaped Cup
This vessel is made of greenish-white jade and is in the shape of a horn cup. The surface is decorated with the carving of a coiling dragon in relief. The body of the dragon is strong and forceful as it reveals the unique vigor of Han dynasty craftsmanship.
5. Jade Tablet
The hardness of the jade tablet on the Mohr's scale is 6.5, and it is marked by a warm luster. The color is ochre-red along with yellow and green as well as spots of varying sizes, appearing like stars in the Milky Way. It has been surmised that this jade tablet originally was a half-finished jade knife from the Neolithic period.
6. Jadeite Cabbage, in a cloisonne flowerpot
This piece is almost completely identical to a piece of bokchoy cabbage. Carved from verdant jadeite, the familiar subject, purity of the white vegetable body, and brilliant green of the leaves all create for an endearing and approachable work of art. Let's also not forget the two insects that have alighted on the vegetable leaves! They are a locust and katydid, which are traditional metaphors for having numerous children This work originally was placed in the Forbidden City's Yung-ho Palace, which was the residence of the Guangxu Emperor's (r. 1875-1908) Consort Jin. For this reason, some have surmised that this piece was a dowry gift for Consort Jin to symbolize her purity and offer blessings for bearing many children. Although it is said that the association between the material of jadeite and the form of bokchoy began to become popular in the middle and late Qing dynasty, the theme relating bokchoy and insects actually can be traced back to the professional insect-and-plant paintings of the Yuan to early Ming dynasty (13th-15th c.), when they were quite common and a popular subject among the people for its auspiciousness. In the tradition of literati painting, it has also been borrowed as a subject in painting to express a similar sentiment, indirectly chastising fatuous officials. For example, in a poem written in 1775, the Qianlong Emperor associated the form of a flower holder in the shape of a vegetable with the tradition of metaphorical criticism found in the Tang dynasty poetry of Du Fu, in which an official was unable to recognize a fine vegetable in a garden. The emperor thereupon took this as a warning to be careful and alert
7. Jasper Plate with Gold Tracery
This plate is made of jade from Northern India. The center and rim of this plate is inlaid with gold filament and red glass. This plate is made of jade from Northern India and is marked by its exquisite workmanship.
8. Jade Ornament in the Shape of Phoenix Crowned with Dragon
This is a phoenix with a kui-dragon as a crown. The entire piece has been carved with great precision to give it great spirit. The head of this phoenix bears a kui-dragon as a crown.
9. Jade Duck
This jade duck was sculpted using a yellow nephrite and its head, belly, and feet are dark brown in color. The jade duck features remarkably simple sculpting techniques. However, its physical features (i.e., lifted tail and rounded bottom) were accurately portrayed to evoke a sense of adorability and liveliness.