A white and grey jade lychee incense box and cover

The box is of well fashioned low cylindrical form with a flat-topped cover fitting over a base of similar form but with a flange to secure the cover and a wide very low footrim. The cover is carved following two lines of darker inclusion with a design of three lychees borne on leafy stems. The base is similarly carved with lychees. The stone is of grey-white colour with some darker flaws and suffusions.

Maria Kiang Chinese Art

For a very similar box in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, dated to the sixteenth century, see Chinese Jades, no. 66, p. 62, where the authors discuss, p. 63, the possibility that lychee decoration evolved from an earlier style featuring the yuxian flower, associated with a type of belt plaque conferred on Academician officials. In the present case, the carver seems to have taken inspiration from a type of Ming lacquer box characteristically carved with lychees. For another, a little smaller, see Chinese Jade From the Neolithic to the Qing, no. 29:10, p. 397.

Dimensions: Diameter: 6 cm, 2 ⅜ inches

Date: Ming dynasty (1368-1644)

Stock No. 2327

Price: On Request