Condition: Excellent

Pair of Vintage Chinese Spinach Jade Cups

Throughout the history of the art of the Chinese empire, Jade has had a special significance, comparable to that of diamonds in the West, for Jade has always been considered the “imperial gem”, used by Chinese emperors, royal officials, and high-ranking society. “Revered for its beauty, strength, and ethereal power, jade is known to have been used in ritual ceremonies in China from about 5000 to 1700 B.C.” For the ancient Chinese people, jade was very important to daily life, because the Chinese thought they could use the jade to communicate with different spirits that inhabited the earth. The Chinese additionally believed that using Jade bestowed longevity, wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty and courage upon the user. Many parents in China give their son or daughter a piece of jade to remind their child of the parents’ love and protection.

Households of many nobles and wealthy families were filled with all kinds of carved articles made from jade. Jade was used in China for the finest sculptural figures (dragon or phoenix, and symbolic carvings to honor gods and spirits), hairpins, combs, bracelets, (used for protection), containers, and ceremonial (libation) cups, all typically translucent and varying in color because of the variety of its mineral content. Because of this translucency, jade also became a favorite material for the crafting of Chinese scholar’s objects, such as ‘rests’ for calligraphy brushes, the mouthpieces of opium pipes, and flutes.

Most Chinese jade comes from the far western region of Xinjiang. Both Nephrite and Jadeite often have veins, blemishes and streaks running through them though these are not regarded as flaws (however, true ‘Imperial” Jade is as rare and pure as the finest emeralds.). On the contrary, these patterns are considered particularly valuable and add unique interest to the piece. Nephrite, the more easily carved, ranges mainly from mid to dark green or grey-green, but it can also have streaks of white, yellow/gold or reddish tones. The quality of the jade piece, in this case, drinking vessels, symbolized the owner’s position in society.

Pictured are two (2) Chinese cylindrical form, mottled green, translucent Jade cups, each with an integrated short foot. The two cups are of Nephrite Jade, in a mix of green and earth-tone colors. These cups date from the late 19th Century to early 20th Century. No chips or dings on either piece, both show a beautiful natural mottling from calcification. The pieces illustrate classical proportions of objects of this type. Both have an exceptionally elegant shape with no decorative carving and come with their original, perfectly fitted Rosewood stands. Dimensions: 1-7/8” dia x 2-1/8”h

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