Carving of a Recumbent Mythical Beast
Jade animal figurines have been prominent in Chinese art since Neolithic times and are treasured for the association of jade with immortality. During the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911), economic development and increased jade supply led to the wide use of jade for luxury objects like these, which depict a lion-like mythical beast that first appeared in stone tomb sculpture of the Han dynasty (206 b.c.–a.d. 220) to safeguard the spirit of the dead. Although the figures were no longer expected to provide protection, they still had auspicious meaning. One of the beasts (78.85.7) holds in its mouth a lingzhi, a type of fungus also associated with immortality.
late 18th-early 19th century
Gift of Stanley Herzman
This item is not on view
Carving of a Recumbent Mythical Beast, late 18th-early 19th century. Nephrite, 1 3/8 x 3 1/2 in. (3.5 x 8.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Stanley Herzman, 78.85.7. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 78.85.7_PS4.jpg)
overall, 78.85.7_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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