Bird with peach

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 1368-1644
H x W x D: 8 x 4.6 x 4.9 cm (3 1/8 x 1 13/16 x 1 15/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jade, Sculpture


bird, China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

The lustrous surface of this jade almost beckons to be touched. Chinese scholars, who loved jade carvings, enjoyed the cool, pleasurably unctuous feel of the stone. They described the qualities of jade as "pure" and deemed it to be an appropriate symbol for an admirable gentleman; they also found in jade an apt metaphor for a beautiful woman.

Small though this piece is, its masterful execution with deep carving imbues it with the force of a larger sculpture. The elements of the bird's wings, tail, and talons, and the leafy peach branch, are each worked in high relief and given rich textures with incised lines. In traditional Chinese lore peaches are said to be symbols of immortality, so this jade expresses a wish for longevity.

Published References
  • Chinese Jade Animals. Exh. cat. Hong Kong. cat. 162.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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