The distinctive, deep style of carving on the jade plaque, which features fine details and a dramatic combination of high and low relief carving, is characteristic of Liao, Song, Jin and Yuan-period jade carvings. The plaque is imbued with a remarkable liveliness, thanks to the fluid and bold carving, particularly in the lyrical depiction of the overhanging pine-tree branches set against dimpled and pierced rockwork.
A jade openwork plaque dated to the Song dynasty and carved with similar imagery of ladies below the overhanging branches of a pine tree, with cranes and lingzhi, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum – Jadeware (II), Hong Kong, 1995, p. 104, no. 91. Also illustrated, p. 102, no. 89, is a white jade openwork ornament, also dated Song dynasty, which is carved as a phoenix supporting a female immortal whose hair is dressed in an elaborate coiffure with projections on the sides pierced with three holes, similar to that of the seated figure of the current plaque. An openwork jade plaque dated to the Song dynasty and carved with a very similar design to that of the current plaque was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 4 April 2012, lot 3017. See, also, the related openwork plaque dated to the Song-Yuan dynasty, but carved from white and blackish-grey jade, from the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, sold at Sotheby’s New York, 15 March 2016, lot 108.