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Mythic beast (baize)
Place of Origin: China
Date: approx. 1800-1900
Historical Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Materials: Nephrite
Dimensions: H. 1 in x W. 2 1/2 in x D. 1 1/2 in, H. 2.53 cm x W. 6.35 cm x D. 3.8 cm
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Jade And Stones
Object Number: B75J7
On Display: No

Description

Label:

The baize is a mythic single-horned beast. Here it has been carved from an opaque, grayish-green jade with brownish flaws; spots have been carved into the stone and filled with yellowish dyes. The beast turns its upper body slightly toward one side. The two forepaws are joined,forming an openwork space between them and the chest. The facial features are shown in round relief, while the spine is a raised cylinder. The bifurcated tail is coiled on the hip.

The specific beast is difficult to identify from general descriptions in classical texts of the Han to Tang periods. It has been called suanni, tianlu, bixie, baize, or kilin (qilin). What distinguishes these various creatures is uncertain. Han documents recorded that tianlu with one horn and bixie with two horns appeared in pairs on two sides of a tomb; modern historians refer to both as animals with wings. Baize, the spirit of all mythic deities, was said to be a creature thatonly a great emperor could encounter in the east paradise. Suanni, who could run thousands of miles in a day, had the supernatural ability to understand the universe. Kilin (qilin) (the male is called ki, or qi, and the female lin) had a single horn, a deer's body, a cow's tail, and a wolf's claws. Early jade crouching beasts like this example are commonly found in museums and are generally attributed to the Song period (Palace Museum, Beijing 1995, vol. 41, plate 57). Because this beast has no wings, Yang Boda has identified it as a baize.


Label:

The baize is a mythic single-horned beast. Here it has been carved from an opaque, grayish-green jade with brownish flaws; spots have been carved into the stone and filled with yellowish dyes. The beast turns its upper body slightly toward one side. The two forepaws are joined,forming an openwork space between them and the chest. The facial features are shown in round relief, while the spine is a raised cylinder. The bifurcated tail is coiled on the hip.

The specific beast is difficult to identify from general descriptions in classical texts of the Han to Tang periods. It has been called suanni, tianlu, bixie, baize, or kilin (qilin). What distinguishes these various creatures is uncertain. Han documents recorded that tianlu with one horn and bixie with two horns appeared in pairs on two sides of a tomb; modern historians refer to both as animals with wings. Baize, the spirit of all mythic deities, was said to be a creature thatonly a great emperor could encounter in the east paradise. Suanni, who could run thousands of miles in a day, had the supernatural ability to understand the universe. Kilin (qilin) (the male is called ki, or qi, and the female lin) had a single horn, a deer's body, a cow's tail, and a wolf's claws. Early jade crouching beasts like this example are commonly found in museums and are generally attributed to the Song period (Palace Museum, Beijing 1995, vol. 41, plate 57). Because this beast has no wings, Yang Boda has identified it as a baize.