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A CHINESE CELADON AND RUSSET JADE 'YINGXIONG' GROUP 18TH CENTURY Carved as a recumbent lion dog gazing at an eagle perched on its back, with the mythical beast picked out in a russet section of the stone, the steely-eyed bird of prey carved in celadon, their fur and feathers finely detailed, together with a certificate of authenticity from Gilbert Crutel, Paris, dated 3rd June 1978, 7cm. The imagery depicted is an interpretation of the motif of an eagle, ying, and a bear, xiong, which together form the word yingxiong, homophone for 'hero'. The theme of an eagle and bear first appeared on Western Han dynasty bronze 'champion' vases. This developed throughout later periods into more stylised representations where the bear is often rendered as a mythical beast resembling a lion and the eagle is sometimes portrayed as a phoenix. Cf. A Forsyth and B McElney, Jades from China, p.292, no.292 for a Ming dynasty jade carving of an eagle perched on a lion-like mythical animal in the collection of The Museum of East Asian Art, Bath; see also Sotheby's Hong Kong, 1st December 2016, lot 203 for a 17th/18th century yellow jade carving with the same iconography.

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