Length: 2 1/8  inches, 5.4 cm
Height: 13/8  inches, 4.5 cm

Jade openwork plaque with Shou character

China, 18th century

A jade plaque of oval shape, carved on both sides with a central Shou character.  The central character is flanked by confronting dragons and has a bat at the bottom.  The carving of the central character is channelled. The stone is of palest celadon tone.

The Shou character, the two dragons and the bat all symbolise longevity, giving the wearer of this plaque, intended to be a pendant, an invincible quality.  An almost identical plaque, referred to as “ornament” and dated to the 17th – 18th century, is in the Hotung collection.[1]  Describing this ornament, Rawson states that “The openwork gives the piece a similar outline back and front, and is worked so that the same ornament appears on both sides.”  A description that perfectly applies to the current plaque.

1    Rawson, J. Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, The British Museum press, London 1995, no. 25:30, p. 344


此牌玉质细腻,通体透雕而成。其中间位置雕以变体篆书 “寿” 字,周围雕卷草、夔龙以及蝙蝠为装饰,排布错落有致。极尽工巧,卷草最细处不及一毫米。