Art/ Collection/ Art Object

清乾隆 青玉雕十二生肖
Twelve Animals of the Chinese Zodiac

Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
18th century
Jade (nephrite)
Overall (each approx.): H. 2 1/4 in. (5.7 cm); W. 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Heber R. Bishop, 1902
Accession Number:
Not on view
The twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac are popular decorative motifs and have been used in various media. This set, made of flawless pale green jade, must have been particularly prized during the Qing dynasty: two additional identical sets from the imperial collection are known (now in the Palace Museum, Beijing). With extraordinary talent and skill, the master carvers have created a lively group of individual characters with varied postures and accessories in their hands.
Heber R. Bishop , New York (until 1902; donated to MMA)
Palm Springs Desert Museum. "Magic, Art and Order: Jade in Chinese Culture," February 8, 1990–April 29, 1990.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Bishop Jades," March 30, 2004–February 12, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The "Hundred Antiques"," February 18, 2006–October 31, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Extravagant Display: Chinese Art in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," December 14, 2010–May 1, 2011.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Celebration of the Year of the Ram," January 17, 2015–April 12, 2015.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Monkey Business: Celebrating the Year of the Monkey," January 8, 2016–July 24, 2016.

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