Vessel with elephant-shaped lugs

Historical period(s)
Southern Song or Yuan dynasty, ca. 12th-14th centuries
H x W x D: 12.1 x 6 x 6 cm (4 3/4 x 2 3/8 x 2 3/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jade, Vessel


China, Song dynasty (960 - 1279), WWII-era provenance, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)
Provenance research underway.

This vessel is decorated with a pair of elephant heads. In China, elephants have several symbolic associations, including strength and astuteness. The elephant masks are carved to look connected and are seemingly held in place on the vessel by rows of knotted cords, a motif that harks back to vessels that were in fashion almost one thousand years earlier. During the Song dynasty antiquarian motifs and a taste for restrained design, both seen here, were highly popular.

Published References
  • S. Howard Hansford. Chinese Carved Jades. Greenwich, Connecticut. pl. 74.
  • Bo Gyllensvard. Celadon, Jade: Finds, Specimen, Scientific Results; Exhibition. Exh. cat. Stockholm, May-June 1963. cat. 139.
  • Jessica Rawson, John Ayers. Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages: An Exhibit. Exh. cat. London. fig. 275.
  • unknown title. no. 36 Stockholm, 1963. pl. 29-3.
  • The Arts of the Sung Dynasty. Exh. cat. London, 1959. cat. 282, pl. 87.
  • Les Trois Reves du Mandarin. Exh. cat. Brussels. cat. 18, p. 37.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 80, p. 125.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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