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"Pine Tree And Mist Covered Mountain With 3 Monks Huddled On The Top Steps of a Winding Staircase, Leading Up To A Monastery Carved Directly Into The Imposing, Jagged Rock Exposure That Climbs Vertically Over The Figures Below; China, Post-Qing 20th C. (Republic):
A Graceful, Precisely Sculpted Gem Hardstone Carving From A Rather Large, Single and Entirely-Solid Chunk of "Honan Jade," One A Several Possible Varieties of Green and White Semi Precious Jade-Like Gemstones in the Serpentine Family of Mineral Gem Stones, which in this case is almost certainly "Bowenite," a Hard Variety of Serpentine Gemstone (with a Mohs Scale rating of approx. 6; Talc falls under the Softest rating of 1, while at the opposite end Diamonds, commonly used for their extremely Hard structure, has the highest of 10). Bowenite has been used in Chinese Carvings for centuries, as well as in a number of other areas around the world, and is the likely the gemstone most often used under the name Honan Jade. Depicted in the scene are Three Huddled Figures (Bottom Center) Taking Cover At The Base Of A Jagged Vertical Rock Exposure of A Mountain, Which Is Covered Top To Bottom, Side to Side, and on both the front and backside In Streaming Ribbons of Mist and Dark Green-Leafed Pine Trees. The artist of this piece uses the varying shades of green in this very large, single, and entirely solid mass of varying shades of white and green gemstone in a truly expert fashion, placing the leafy pines in the darker sections of green to create an easily seen contrast between the lighter green face of the mountain, the spinach green leaves of the tree tops, the comparatively small figures huddled in beneath the vertical exposure of the jagged rocks towering above them, and the near white whisps of mist which flow over both sides of the Mountain. A truly skillful Chinese hardstone sculpture.
'Honan' Jade vs. Real Jade?:
So what is the "Real" Jade? There is no Gemstone called Jade! Jade can actually be any one of several varying forms of either one of two different classes of crystalline gemstone: 'Jadeite' and 'Nephrite.' Both jadeite and nephrite, which each exist naturally in a variety of colors, are able to officially be referred to as Jade. Nephrite, the less valuable 'jade,' is rarely a solid green, but usually a mottled multi-shaded opaque green, often with a yellow tint, or as 'mutton fat' Jade, a yellowish white Jade used in place of the more valuable 'Pure' White Jadeite. Jadeite, while existing in several colors, is the source of the color classically referred to as Jade when it takes its form in the traditional deep unicolor green known as Imperial Jade. Green Jadeite can vary from completely opaque to an emerald-like color and translucency; for this reason, as well as its harder structure and comparable rarity, Jadeite is the almost always the most sought-after of the two distinct varieties. Oddly, considering the fame of Chinese 'Jade', traditional Chinese Jade is only Nephrite, as Jadeite doesn't exist in China and was first brought there for use from Burma in the 18th Century! Aside from its Imperial Jade green coloring, jadeite's value is also derived from its beautifully colored forms such as White, Lavender, and Black Jade.
Many other crystalline gemstones of a similar color and structure to the above varieties can appear almost identical to one of the several varieties of 'Jade' and are sometimes only distinguishable by way of modern scientific testing. Green "Serpentine" is a subgroup of multiple types of crystalline gemstone that can appear almost identical to one of the many varieties of "real" jade, and although differing in specific classification, they are REAL gemstones capable of great beauty, rarity, and can carry Jade-like Costs in several cases.
Bowenite, One of The Hardest, Most Valuable and Rare Varieties of Green Serpentine Often Appears Identical To Jade, Such As In Cases Like This Carving and in Other 'Honan Jade' Carvings, it solely varies in the structure of its mineral composition.
Bowenite was famously used in a large number of exquisite FABERGE pieces in the 19th and early 20th Century which have been known to fetch 5 and 6-figure auction sums in the past several years. Different stones resembling jade have been called by countless names over the past several centuries, such as Soochow Jade, New Jade, and False Jade- as some varieties were called by the English in the 18th and 19th Centuries after they had unknowingly been sold other varieties of stone as real jade.
Dimensions (approx.): H: 10 1/2" x W: 7 1/2"
(Height w/ Base= Approx 11 1/2")
ATTACHED CUSTOM-MADE HAND-CARVED WOODEN BASE INCLUDED.
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