A fine jade carving of a magpie
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All Items: Archives:Regional Art:Asian:Chinese: Pre 1900: item # 858227
Please refer to our stock # 858227 when inquiring.
Qing dynasty, 18th to 19th century
Length: 7 ½ in (18.8 cm)
Width: 7 3/8 in (18.7 cm)
A nephrite carving of light green color with some russet inclusions, carved as a resting magpie carrying in its beak a spray of lingzhi, the mushroom of immortality. The magpie is usually referred to as xi qiao or “joy bringing magpie.” In this carving the joy the bird brings is the one of immortality or long life.
The magpie had a special place in the Qing dynasty, due to a legend that the founding father of the Manchu dynasty was being pursued by his enemies. The pursuit ended when a magpie perched on his head. For more on the symbolism of the magpie, see, Wolfram Eberhard, A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols (London: 1988), pp. 174-175.
Published: Asiantiques, Chinese Works of Art (2009), cat. no. 7