• Fine Chinese Ceramics and Work auction at Christies

    Sale 2297

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    26 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1129

    A SMALL WHITE JADE CARVING OF LIU HAI

    18TH/19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A SMALL WHITE JADE CARVING OF LIU HAI
    18TH/19TH CENTURY
    Carved from the luminious white stone with Liu Hai holding a broom and seated atop a beribboned double gourd, with a string of cash tied to his waist and his three-legged toad atop his back, his face turned to one side with an amused expression beneath his finely incised hair parted at the front
    2 3/16 in. (5.6 cm.) high


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    Liu Hai is the immortal associated with commercial success. He is nearly always portrayed with his three-legged toad and cash, and conveys a wish for prosperity. The three-legged toad itself has origins in the magical realm, representing the unattainable. It was only in later Chinese art that it was associated with Liu Hai.

    There are many versions of the story of Liu Hai and his toad companion, but the essential elements remain that as a reward for his friendship, the toad revealed the secret to eternal life. Holding the toad also allowed Liu Hai to travel anywhere in the world instantaneously.

    Provenance

    Acquired in 1977.


    Exhibited

    Chinese Jade: The Image from Within, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, 1985 - 1986, no. 201.