Thursday, July 26, 2012

Queer Fish

This brown fish is, um a    bird !

looks like a fish

Picked up among the riff-raff of a flea market in China it is a tantalising piece of jade. My first impression was that it resembled a fish lying on its belly. I can even see fins and the scales.

But turn the fish upside down and hey presto it becomes a    bird !

looks like a bird

What looked like fins are now the feet. Just love these trick pieces :))

Is it ancient ?The stone is weathered and old. The piece looks handcarved. The obverse is almost completely corroded but traces of the original carving which is identical to the good side can still be seen.

Corroded side

Flat animal carvings like my fish/bird are often assigned to  the Shang-Zhou dynasty (1600-256BC) While this piece feels somewhat archaic, there is also something suspicious about the carving style. What is that eye-looking motif doing in the bird's wing ? The normal pattern should end with a 'C' scroll. Here it looks more like an eye from a Picasso painting ! What a mixmatch of styles, shapes, and periods. It could be some form of hybrid  art.

Wrong Eye!
Modern Art ?

Is this neolithic art, mordern art or forgers art. Well  interpretation may well be in the Eyes of the Beholder :))  Meanwhile this inexpensive piece has given me much thoughts to ponder.


  1. Congratulations on your baffling piece!


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Favourite Books

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