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Birds, flowers, and landscapes
Place of Origin: China
Date: approx. 1920-1930
Historical Period: Republic period (1912-1949)
Object Name: Six panel folding screen
Materials: Jade, gold, and wood
Dimensions: H. 72 in x w. 14 3/8 in x D. 8 3/4 in, H. 182.9 cm x W. 36.5 cm x D. 22.2 cm (folded)
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Decorative Arts
Object Number: B60J978
On Display: No

Description

Label: Each panel of this screen consists of five rectangular slabs of jade set into a wooden frame decorated with stylized designs. The back of the screen is composed entirely of landscapes. In each front panel, two bird and flower compositions alternate vertically with three landscape compositions. The upper row of birds and flowers consists of (left to right) kingfisher, egrets, and lotus; miscellaneous birds and flowers; mandarin ducks and hibiscus; phoenix, peony, and Chinese parasol tree (wutong); miscellaneous birds, yellow hibiscus, and pinks; miscellaneous birds, osmanthus, and St. John's Wort. The lower row has dragonfly, butterflies, and narcissus; quail and chrysanthemum, miscellaneous birds and plums; miscellaneous birds and hibiscus; miscellaneous birds and flowers; paradise flycatchers and (possibly) peony; paradise flycatchers and rose.

According to Gump's, a San Francisco company with a long history of dealing in Chinese jades, a number of Siberian spinach (dark green) jade boulders were confiscated by the Bolshevik government and sold to the Chinese for much-needed cash. The boulders appeared in the Beijing market in 1921, and Gump's buyers in China immediately purchased some of them and had them cut up into screens and incense burners for the Western market. This screen came not from Gump's but most probably from a rival Beijing firm whose objects were crafted from spinach jades in that same cache.

More Information

Exhibition History: "Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Additional Label:

Chinese screens such as this one are like semipermeable membranes, both articulating space and setting it apart by creating a hierarchy of value within that space. The pedigree of this screen is similarly set apart from others. For one thing, its story is unique: This screen was created from a number of Siberian dark-jade boulders that were supposedly confiscated by the Russian government in the early 1920s and subsequently sold to a Beijing workshop. The subtle patterns of the jade, combined with the sumptuous painting on the wood frames, make this screen a work fit for, if not in this case used by, a king. The combination of jade and gold evokes the immortality to which royalty—and contemplative mystics as well—might aspire.

Each panel of this screen consists of five rectangular slabs of jade set into a wooden frame decorated with stylized designs. Many of the luminous gold paintings are so accurate and detailed that precise species can be discerned. For example, the upper row contains in its first panel (left to right): kingfisher, egrets, and lotus.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)


Label: Each panel of this screen consists of five rectangular slabs of jade set into a wooden frame decorated with stylized designs. The back of the screen is composed entirely of landscapes. In each front panel, two bird and flower compositions alternate vertically with three landscape compositions. The upper row of birds and flowers consists of (left to right) kingfisher, egrets, and lotus; miscellaneous birds and flowers; mandarin ducks and hibiscus; phoenix, peony, and Chinese parasol tree (wutong); miscellaneous birds, yellow hibiscus, and pinks; miscellaneous birds, osmanthus, and St. John's Wort. The lower row has dragonfly, butterflies, and narcissus; quail and chrysanthemum, miscellaneous birds and plums; miscellaneous birds and hibiscus; miscellaneous birds and flowers; paradise flycatchers and (possibly) peony; paradise flycatchers and rose.

According to Gump's, a San Francisco company with a long history of dealing in Chinese jades, a number of Siberian spinach (dark green) jade boulders were confiscated by the Bolshevik government and sold to the Chinese for much-needed cash. The boulders appeared in the Beijing market in 1921, and Gump's buyers in China immediately purchased some of them and had them cut up into screens and incense burners for the Western market. This screen came not from Gump's but most probably from a rival Beijing firm whose objects were crafted from spinach jades in that same cache.
Exhibition History: "Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Expanded Label:

Chinese screens such as this one are like semipermeable membranes, both articulating space and setting it apart by creating a hierarchy of value within that space. The pedigree of this screen is similarly set apart from others. For one thing, its story is unique: This screen was created from a number of Siberian dark-jade boulders that were supposedly confiscated by the Russian government in the early 1920s and subsequently sold to a Beijing workshop. The subtle patterns of the jade, combined with the sumptuous painting on the wood frames, make this screen a work fit for, if not in this case used by, a king. The combination of jade and gold evokes the immortality to which royalty—and contemplative mystics as well—might aspire.

Each panel of this screen consists of five rectangular slabs of jade set into a wooden frame decorated with stylized designs. Many of the luminous gold paintings are so accurate and detailed that precise species can be discerned. For example, the upper row contains in its first panel (left to right): kingfisher, egrets, and lotus.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)