Left: length; 10.5 cm, width; 3.9 cm,
height; 5.3 cm
Right: length; 10.3 cm, width; 3.8 cm, height; 5.15 cm
The original light green jade is visible where one of the horns of the rams was chipped,
but even much of it too appears mottled brownish-yellow in color. Traces of textile and
cinnabar are also still visible in the details. This pair of stocky rams appears standing
with their heads slightly lowered. The compact features, such as the horns and short legs,
suggest that they were carved originally from rectangular blocks of jade. The eyes were
also rendered simply as round forms, and a coarse line represents the mouth. The bodies
are undecorated with only abbreviated descriptions to suggest the torso, limbs, and
hooves. Even traces of the carving are still apparent on the undersides.
The first part of the late Shang dynasty (also known as the early Yin-hsu Phase) is marked
by numerous sculptures of animals, which are mostly covered by various spirit-cloud
patterns and designs. Few are undecorated. A jade like this pair is in the Sedgwick
collection, and a jade bear in a Japanese collection has, in addition to its plain and
stocky features, eyes rendered in a similar manner.