11. A white and black jade 'cat and butterfly' group

The cat is well carved in curled position, with incised oval eyes gazing out from the large face, with tab-shaped ears on top. The tail is curled around the front of the body. On the right side of the cat’s head, using a dark area in the variegated black and white stone, is a small butterfly which sits on a ribbon the cat holds between its mouth and its right paw.

Provenance:
Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 31st May 2018, lot 587
An old Hong Kong collection

For an early carving of a cat in a similar posture, but lacking the butterfly, see The Duberly Collection of Chinese Art at Winchester College, p. 132. The rebus indicated by the combination of cat and butterfly reads as maodie, literally ‘advanced in years’, suggesting wishes for a long life.

Dimensions: Length: 5.7 cm, 2 ¼ inches

Date: Late Ming or early Qing dynasty, 17th century

Stock No. 2257

Price: On Request