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Chinese Monkey King in Jade

The monkey is a common subject in Chinese art… these two carvings represent the most famous monkey in Asia…

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10-04-19 Chinese Monkey King in Jade

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His name is Sun Wu-Kong or the ‘Monkey King’… he is an important character in the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West…( Wikipedia has a wonderful synopsis). Patricia Welch in her book, Chinese Art, Tuttle Publishing, says: "his most famous antic is stealing the peaches of immortality" (from the humans).

These two jade carvings are great examples of very different styles of carving. The pale lavender-green jadeite monkey with peach shows marks that indicate early 20th century carving …the lines are clean, crisp and slightly exaggerated.

The white jade monkey is probably 18th century, treadle carved, all the surfaces feel like silk… this is a piece that has been fondled by human hands for many, many years on a scholars’ desk or hanging from his waist sash,,, a piece that has been loved and still is!

Singapore RE 2.5.2