Black Jade Buffalo by the artist Shen Quan
Black Khotan Jade
Signed on underside
Length: 13 inches (33 cm)
Animals of great size rendered in jade are quite scarce. Large size boulders of jade from Khotan were brought to the main jade working centers along a 2,000 mile trek on the Silk Road. Due to its use as a farm animal, the buffalo is emblematic of springtime and agriculture, and is admired for its patience and physical strength. It is the main farm animal of historical China and as such is considered of value and reverence among the Chinese.
This remarkable depiction of a recumbent buffalo is rendered from a solid boulder executed in a naturalistic style with the legs tucked under the body. The head of the animal is shown resting on the front foreleg, following the natural contours of the original boulder without altering its form. The hard ridges of the pair of horns curve backward, giving the head a wide flat appearance. The eyes are open and alert. The composition is simple yet powerful, with the rich polish of the jade enhancing the deep beauty of the black jade stone. The overall result is tranquil and powerful, a rare stone rendered to an even rarer form. In our opinion, this recumbent jade buffalo is an excellent example of contemporary Chinese workmanship and design by the jade artist Shen Quan.
Reference Number: 3452
The artist of this work of art, Shen Quan, is a native of Jiangsu Province. He studied ancient jades to learn the methodology of early jade working techniques. Shen Quan’s mastery of jade represents a modern revival of traditional working techniques and an interpretation of subject matter, which is fresh to the field of jade. His work represents a twentieth century revival of naturalism as a branch of jade working.