Perching owl of semi-translucent white jade with opaque flecks and brown veining. Carved partly in the round as a swooping figure angles with head slightly raised, the head a disc with small beak and two raised circles for eyes, the body with three V marks in relief down the back, the folded wings tapering and with thread lines in relief outlining the form and curling into angular decorative motifs, the spreading, bifurcated tail similarly decorated. The underside presents a flat, raised plane with incisions for the feet, angles at the front and pierced longitudinally for attachment; a cord also passed through a perforation in the tail now open at the rear side.
James Watt opinion 11/6/1987: like Shang types from Fu Hao tomb.
Small pieces of jade carved in the shape of animals or birds were worn as pendants in ancient China. When the owners died their pendants were buried with them. The present example is carved in the round, representing a bird with a round head, two round eyes and a small beak. The jade is very white.