Monday, November 9, 2009

The Parrot and the Pussycat



the parrot and the pussy cat did not go down  to sea.....

....  instead they came to  my home and I am their happy host. Here are  the pair of visitors  from the past :))


Both are carved from crystal but hail from different periods of Chinese culture.

What a beautiful pussy you are, you are ....

This sleek Puss with the snooty expression is likely to be from the late Qing Dynasty,  around 1874-1908AD. It sits on a flat pedestal which must have originally been intended to serve as a seal. However on this piece there is no carving on the flat bottom.


....you elegant fowl.....

I think the "elegant fowl", above is a Parrot. It has a hooked beak, round eyes, curved claws and the tail ends as a stand.  The piece is  partially corroded by iron rust marks and must have been buried with iron or metal objects. Parts of the body and the tail is covered by an abstract pattern carved in deep, strong  (dao gong  you li) lines. There are very old concentric ring drill marks in the perforation at the beak. 

Many parrot pieces have been discovered in Shang excavations and the shape and bearing of this elegant fowl has the flavour of that era. So, methinks or mehopes that this is a late Shang/early Zhou dynasty, about 1200-1000BC piece.

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Favourite Books

  • Theft : a love story
  • The Uncommon Reader
  • Never Let me go
  • Angela's Angels
  • Where angels fear to tread