The Joy of Collecting Chinese Antique Jade



According to “The psychology of collecting” By Mark B. McKinley, Ed.D.January 1, 2007″

“Everybody collects something. Whether it be photographs of a person’s vacation, ticket stubs from ballgames, souvenirs of trips, pictures of one’s children, athletes’ trophies, kids’ report cards or those who collect “junk” (pack-rats) and dispose of it in garage sales.

During the 1700s and 1800s, there were aristocratic collectors, the landed gentry, who roamed the world in search of fossils, shells, zoological specimens, works of art and books. The collected artifacts were then kept in special rooms (“cabinets of curiosities”) for safekeeping and private viewing. A “cabinet” was, in part, a symbolic display of the collector’s power and wealth. It was these collectors who established the first museums in Europe, and to a lesser extent in America…

Why do we collect things, e.g., Cracker Jack toys to manhole covers? Some people collect for investment, yet one must wonder how a penny can become worth thousands of dollars. Some collect for pure enjoyment – it’s fun. Some collect to expand their social lives, attending swap meets and exchanging information with like-minded souls.

And still other folks collect to preserve the past, but there can be a risk here. Medical scientists and anthropologists collected human remains for the purpose of a study. Yet the courts have been called into the fray as to who is the proper “owner” of the past, e.g., the Kennewick Man – archaeologists legally fight to study the bones, whereas, Native Americans legally fight to bury them.

For some people collecting is simply the quest, in some cases a life-long pursuit that is never complete. Additional collector motivations include psychological security, filling a void in a sense of self. Or it could be to claim a means to distinction, much as uniforms make the “man.” Collections could be a means to immortality or fame vis-a-vis Dr. Louis Leakey.”

Chinese antique jades contain colorful and exquisite of craftsmanship, artistic and philosophical cultural substances. Furthermore, the texture of jade gives a wonderful feeling when you touch it. The colorful appearance of the antiquity of jade gives you unlimited imagination.  The different carving styles of different periods challenge your understanding of ancient Chinese craftsmanship. It is definitely a joy to collect antique Chinese jades.

The elegance of Chinese jade will be rediscovered if jade enjoyment can be matched with the final purpose to establish a harmonious society by following the virtues of jade.IMG_2806


Lapel styles shown on the Antique Jades



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Lapels are the folded flaps of cloth on the front of a jacket. According to Xian Wen of The Analects, “But for Guan Zhong, we should now be wearing our hair unbound, and the lapels of our coats buttoning on the left side.” (論語.憲問:「微管仲!吾其被髮左衽矣!」)In this record, lapel is always cross right in central China, while lapel is always cross left in areas outside central China from the Zhou Dynasty.  Furthermore, it is postulated that dresses wearing on the occasions preying to Deities always have lapels cross right, no matter the actors are priests or dancing ladies. Some antique jades have cross left lapels for women, we assume that women wearing cross left lapels are for daily life, while women wearing cross right lapels are for the occasions preying to Deities.

東漢白玉貔貅, Eastern Han Dynasty Jade Pixie, L.18cm, H.10cm, W.6cm



本器白玉雕琢, 形制為貔貅, 貔貅又稱辟邪獸,「貔貅」較早的文獻出處有以下數個:

  1. 尚書·牧誓》:「如虎如貔」《傳》:「貔,一名執夷,虎屬也」說明西漢初年的孔安國認為貔貅與虎同類,另「執夷」可能就是「貔」的緩讀。
  2. 在 《史記·五帝本紀》中,黃帝曾經訓練猛獸建立軍隊,其中包括六種猛獸,熊、羆、貔、貅、貙、虎[1]。《索隱》:「《爾雅》云「貔,白狐」」...郭璞云:「《書》稱猛士如虎如貔。貔蓋豹屬,亦曰執夷,白狐之云似是而非。」從這裡可知道西漢初年的《爾雅》與晉代郭璞對於「貔」的解釋顯然不同。
  3. 周禮‧大司徒》:「臝物虎豹貔[豸禽]之屬。」鄭眾:「貔即貅也,云淺毛者。若以淺毛言之則入臝蟲中。」這說明東漢的鄭眾認為貔貅是短毛的獸。
  4. 說文解字》:「豹屬,出貉國。」說明東漢末年的許慎認為貔貅與豹同類。
  5. 《詩·大雅》:「獻其貔皮。」陸璣疏:「貔似虎,或曰似熊,遼東謂之白熊。」說明晉代陸璣認為貔貅像虎又像熊,在遼東則稱為白熊。《禮記‧曲禮》:「貔貅」鄭玄注:「貔貅,亦摯獸也。《書》曰:如虎如貔士或為仕。」賈公彥疏:「貔貅者摯獸,猛而能擊,謂虎狼之属也。貔貅,是一獸,亦有威猛也。」此處說明唐朝的賈公彥認為貔貅是一種猛獸。

本件貔貅兩側施翼, 頭頂呈現一角, 張嘴露齒吐舌. 呈匍匐狀, 四肢張力十足, 尾巴拉長盤桓地上, 讓人產生神秘的感覺.古玉跡象為差異風化, 擴散暈沁色及溶蝕孔. Carved with white jade, the object is a pixie with wings on both sides. With an open mouth, the tongue is stretched out and teeth are sharp.  The pixie is crouching on the ground showing mighty legs and curling tail. Antiquity evidence includes differential weathering, dissolved pits, and calcification.

pixie故宮對貔貅的解說: <此為玉辟邪,又名貔貅,為一種神獸。相傳龍生九子, 各有神通。此神獸因為很得玉帝寵愛,某日竟隨地大小 便,玉帝踩到就很生氣,往牠屁股一打。從此就沒肛門。 因為祂喜歡吃金銀財寶,又只進不出。故很多人都把他 奉為發財的神獸,將祂擺在家中或公司的財位,更可以 趨吉避煞。當你覺得財運不佳時,請記得把祂搖一搖, 因為祂也是很貪睡的,搖醒後才能繼續幫主人咬錢回來。 另外很重要的事,千萬不可以買貔貅來送人,這樣會把 財運送給別人喔。>