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Sale HK011 | Lot 78
Lapis Lazuli 'Horse' Ornament, circa 1970
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Lot 78
Lapis Lazuli 'Horse' Ornament, circa 1970
Sold for
HK$236,000
The lapis lazuli horse weighing approximately 3365 grams, the horse measuring approximately 230 x 101 x 153mm. Accompanied by a wooden stand.
Peerlessly ahead at the forefront
“Looking back, the leading horse surveys the situation and calls on its fellow stallions with repeated neighs to gather speed.”
To be offered is an equine-themed lapis lazuli carving, named ‘The Leading Horse’ to connote being peerlessly ahead of the competition. The leading horse is constantly at the forefront, turning its head around at times to encourage its fellow stallions. Lapis Lazuli is one of the seven Buddhist treasures. Since it is the colour of the Buddha of Medicine in Mahayana Buddhism, the gemstone is believed to offer blessings for good health and safety. Mined for over 6000 years, it is also a symbol of wealth. The headdress
of Queen Cleopatra in ancient Egypt, the ceremonial necklaces of Chinese emperors and museum-grade timepieces were all adorned with the gemstone. Blue is the base colour of lapis lazuli. It resembles the “colour of the sky”, and is popularly
known as “Emperor Blue”. The gemstone was a top favourite among kings and emperors since antiquity. For the commoners, blue stands for hope and is a symbol of “peace, blessings and kindness”. This has inspired numerous auspicious-themed carvings of lapis
lazuli. In ancient China, the gemstone was a lofty symbol of heavenly authority. According to historical records, it was used to decorate the court costumes and accessories of imperial officials, as a mark of status. The 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals is one of the most cherished themes in carvings from many private collections. The artisan chose sky-blue lapis lazuli to create an auspicious horse ornament to highlight an intense spiritual link of civilization with physical laws and astronomy. The use of such a gemstone not only heightens the stallion’s image but also the overall essence of the work. Since its introduction into China from abroad, lapis lazuli has long been assimilated into traditional Chinese culture. Using gravers, skilled craftsmen practised their intricate carving skills on the hard, dense and sturdy gemstones to express their inner feelings while taking the folk craftsmanship to a whole new level.