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9. A pale green and russet jade boulder, late Qing dynasty

Carved to one side with two scholars seated at a table beneath a pine tree in a garden amongst retreats in a mountainous river landscape, the other side carved with a retreat below a pine tree, the stone of an even pale green tone with the upper left and lower right sections left uncarved revealing the russet and beige coloured ‘skin’ 

Height: 13.7cm

Provenance: Purchased in Ludlow, Shropshire UK, 2009.

The carver has cleverly used the original stone to illustrate this idyllic world of the scholar in miniature. Boulders of this type of design would have sat on a scholar’s desk and would have enabled the viewer to retreat into these idealised landscapes whilst remaining in the confines of his study. By leaving the original outer layer or ‘skin’ of the boulder, the carver has created a successful contrast to the intricately worked scenes with their various levels of relief and undercutting. The ‘skin’ also acts as a pertinent reminder to the viewer of the origins of the stone from the natural landscape.   

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