Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Jadeite Cabbage

I had the pleasure of seeing The Jadeite Cabbage in Taiwan recently. It is not an abstract piece of art but a figurative one. It is one of the most famous art pieces at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. It is a tiny replication of a head of cabbage that measures about 7.5 inches long carved out of Jadeite stone. There is also a locust and katydid hidden among the leaves. Along with the texture of the stone and the organic carving of the leaves, the Jadeite Cabbage is a figurative sculpture of a scaled down head of cabbage that is exceptionally realistic. The values of green jade perfectly match that of a light translucent stalk of cabbage along with the vibrant leafy green hue that top the sculpture. The contrast in colors is strikingly similar to an actual bokchoy. The carving of the leaves is so delicate and organic it looks as if it is unfolding before the views eyes. Interestingly, the sculpture has been reproduced over and over as souvenirs and keepsakes. My favorite is shown along with the real sculpture. It is a tiny Jadeite Cabbage in edible dessert form that we got to eat at high tea at the museum after visiting the exhibition.

-Vivian Hsu

1 comment:

  1. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon's campus has a large display of sculpture located in the Chinese Throne room. One of the sculptures is of Enoki mushrooms made out of a stone similar to your Jadeite cabbage. I don't entirely know why such a practice happened, but it sure is a delight to come across pieces like this.

    It seems a bit strange to have such a highly valuable piece of work be something as mundane as cabbage, but the piece is really gorgeously carved. The white part is a bit stylized but the green leaves are quite naturalistic. The artist has some incredible skill since the material is something as tough as jade.

    Do you have a date when the Bokchoy was made?

    Also, is the cabbage you saw in an orange bowl on the right side of your second photograph? And it's a dessert, not stone?