Archaic and Imperial China
Ming Dynasty (AD 1368 -1644)


Object :
Nº 796
Medium :
Dimensions :
Height: 31cm (12.2") – Length: 64.5 cm (25.1") - Thickness: 18 cm (7")

Description :

Rectangular panel in dark grey, terracotta composed of a moulded low relief depiction of two standing hares naively represented facing over a large chrysanthemum. Traces of original polychromatic details. Good state of preservation. Some ancient cracks and missing pieces on the foliage relief. Interesting remains of turquoise blue polychrome.

It is through both Indian and Chinese mythology that the legend of the hare and the moon came to be. The Sasa Jataka scriptures during the 3rd century BC, tell us how Buddha reincarnated into a hare to feed a hungry traveller, having transposed the image of the animal on the moon. Since then, the jade hare of China, that feeds itself on regenerating heavenly dew, and consistently pounding the elixir of immortality consisting of chrysanthemums, the autumn flower beloved by scholars for the virtue of perseverance that it represents. Pet of the Renaissance and of the night, the hare, which Chinese consider no different from the rabbit, is a symbol of fertility. Its legs, when worn as amulets, protect against disease, and its coat is used to concoct remedies.