A Celadon and Russet Jade figure of a Standing Caparisoned Elephant

18th Century

5 inches across


Standing foursquare  with a tassled blanket thrown over its back and carved in low relief with shou characters at each side and two bats amidst clouds at the center, the trunk and tail swishing to the left side of the beast, very fine and subtly-carved details to the trunk, ears, tail and feet.

The elephant (xiang) is an auspicious symbol which is used in numerous rebuses to convey peace, prosperity and good fortune. It is a pun for "sign" xiang, pronounced and written the same way. It is also associated with the mythical emperor Shun, one of the twenty-four paragons of filial piety. It also has Buddhist connotations being a mount for the diety Samantabhadra.


For a celadon jade elephant group of smaller size (3 1/2 inches across) also depicted with a tasseled blanket  and the addition of two clambering boys, see Sotheby's London, 11 May 2016, lot 108; another sold at Sotheby's London, 11 November 2015, lot 134