Ming Dynasty 1368-1644
I am considered to be a rare and wonderful example of a Ming dynasty reclining animal. My essence is of Nephrite jade (calcium, magnesium and iron silicate). This composition is most desirable for carving because the fibrous crystals interlock in a matted texture that makes me resistant to fracturing. Jadeite jade is considered denser and harder, but because it is composed of an arrangement of grainy crystals (sodium and aluminum silicate), it is more susceptible to fracturing. Also, Nephrite has a lower translucency and luster, while jadeite is more vitreous, highly polished, and has a higher luster. When you visit with me at the Time Line Exhibit of the Side Gallery, you may want to make a visual comparison with other Jadeite jades on exhibit.
My pose and presence are characteristic of the robust nature of the animal depictions of the Ming Dynasty. During that time, rather large boulders of Nephrite jade were transported along the Silk Road from the Khotan and Yarkand rivers in Turkistan and carved in Beijing. The musculature and bone structure of the bovine is evident in the contour of my sculpture. Others such as I have been known to decorate the various palaces of the emperors.