Large jade water buffalo to make $1.9m in Hong Kong sale?

A large jade water buffalo carved in China during the 17th or 18th century is to star in a single lot auction at Bonhams Hong Kong on November 27.

The exceptional lot, which stands at 12½ inches, is valued at $1.5m-1.9m.

It's one of a number of similar buffalos showcased in museums across Britain, including the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the British Museum.

Bonhams jade buffalo
The jade water buffalo was probably looted from the Summer Palace in Beijing

Most, including the present lot, appear to have been looted from the Summer Palace in Beijing by British forces during the second opium war of 1860.

The water buffalo has been used in agriculture in China for thousands of years and is highly symbolic, representing strength, hard work and dedication.

Bonhams comment: "The important jade water buffalo from the renowned collections of Lt.Col. M.A. Johnson, Somerset de Chair and Jorge de Brito, is a remarkable feat of Chinese jade carving, achieving the astonishing combination of grace, strength, gentleness, majesty, naturalness and timelessness.

"It is extremely rare to find animals of such striking size, and although widely published and much admired, exceptionally large jade animals such as the present lot in fact form a very select and unusual group within the tradition of Chinese jade carving."

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about art and antiques auctions.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock