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Mystic isle
Place of Origin: China
Date: 1800s
Historical Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Materials: Soapstone
Dimensions: H. 7 1/2 in x W. 6 3/4 in x D. 4 1/4 in, H. 19.0 cm x W. 17.1 cm x D. 10.8 cm
Credit Line: Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Jade And Stones
Object Number: B81J2
On Display: No

Description

Label:

A rocky isle rises steeply from the ocean, with waves frothing at its base. Liu Hai, Immortal and God of Wealth, is seen on a rocky ledge. He is seated with one leg folded beneath him and his hand resting on his raised right knee, a pose more closely associated with Guanyin, the Buddhist Lord of Mercy. His attribute, the string of cash, is hung around his neck. This is what he uses to tease his toad, which likes to disappear once in a while. Liu Hai looks benignly at his three-legged toad, which appears on the ledge below. The warty toad turns to his master, billowing clouds from its mouth. Above Liu Hai is a two-story pavilion built below a towering crag incised with a pair of flying bats, a symbol of blessings. A tall pine tree on the right balances the composition; its bark and pine needles are clearly defined. A small tree with rounded leaves grows along the crevices, as do other small plants. A wall and gateway appear in the back, and trees grow precariously among the rocks.

Soapstone is a much softer material than jade, and lends itself to delicate carving. This is a fine piece of sculpture with remarkable attention to details. The pine needles are unusual—they do not follow the traditional motif used by jade craft workers in the 1700s and 1800s. Instead of an oval with lines radiating from the center, the pine needles appear in fan-shaped clusters with lines radiating from the bottom, the way they would have appeared in a painting.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Eternal Stone and Immortal Brush: Chinese Jades and Paintings from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco", Fresno Metropolitan Museum, 2/24/2002 - 6/9/2002
"The Resplendent Stone: Chinese Jades from the 18th-20th Centuries," SFO International Terminal, December 12, 2009 - June 6, 2010
Label:

A rocky isle rises steeply from the ocean, with waves frothing at its base. Liu Hai, Immortal and God of Wealth, is seen on a rocky ledge. He is seated with one leg folded beneath him and his hand resting on his raised right knee, a pose more closely associated with Guanyin, the Buddhist Lord of Mercy. His attribute, the string of cash, is hung around his neck. This is what he uses to tease his toad, which likes to disappear once in a while. Liu Hai looks benignly at his three-legged toad, which appears on the ledge below. The warty toad turns to his master, billowing clouds from its mouth. Above Liu Hai is a two-story pavilion built below a towering crag incised with a pair of flying bats, a symbol of blessings. A tall pine tree on the right balances the composition; its bark and pine needles are clearly defined. A small tree with rounded leaves grows along the crevices, as do other small plants. A wall and gateway appear in the back, and trees grow precariously among the rocks.

Soapstone is a much softer material than jade, and lends itself to delicate carving. This is a fine piece of sculpture with remarkable attention to details. The pine needles are unusual—they do not follow the traditional motif used by jade craft workers in the 1700s and 1800s. Instead of an oval with lines radiating from the center, the pine needles appear in fan-shaped clusters with lines radiating from the bottom, the way they would have appeared in a painting.


Exhibition History: "Eternal Stone and Immortal Brush: Chinese Jades and Paintings from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco", Fresno Metropolitan Museum, 2/24/2002 - 6/9/2002
"The Resplendent Stone: Chinese Jades from the 18th-20th Centuries," SFO International Terminal, December 12, 2009 - June 6, 2010