19th century Chinese soapstone seal carved on the top with a crouching rooster, its head turned right. Wonderful carving, beautiful patina and obvious wear attesting to the age of the object. The bottom is carved with four sunken characters that can be translated as THE HALL OF THE COLOURFUL AND THE EXQUISITE, red seal paste in the grooves - the impression of the seal is shown on Enlargement 1. Very beautiful off-white stone with red veining giving extra depth to the carving - probably Shoushan soapstone. Wonderful object for scholar’s table. Height 1 3/4 inches, base 7/8 inches square.