A Chinese Jade Archer’s Ring mounted by Carl Fabergé

St Petersburg, 1896-1908


the silver mount decorated with a beaded border standing on three reeded bun feet, supporting an antique Chinese archer’s ring carved from a single piece of celadon jade.

Signed in Cyrillic ‘FABERGÉ.’
Workmaster: Johann Victor Aarne
88 zolotnik silver

Height: 4cm

Rings of this form were worn in ancient China by archers, to protect their thumbs from the string of the bow when firing an arrow. Often made from bone or animal hide, only high-ranking officials wore rings carved from jade. Archer’s rings had particular significance during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), as they were descendants of the nomadic Manchu tribe, who were considered the finest archers. In time, archers’ rings became highly valued as decorative objects, often bearing commemorative inscriptions or carved decoration.

A fascinating genre of objects are the Chinese carved hardstone works of art which Fabergé mounted in precious metals. A carved agate snuff bottle with enamelled gold mounts by Carl Fabergé can be found in the Royal Collection (RCIN 23841). A Chinese red jade brush pot with silver-gilt mounts by Fabergé was shown in ‘Carl Fabergé : A Private Collection’ (Wartski, 2012) and is illustrated in the accompanying catalogue (no.129). Also illustrated are a carved Chinese jade cricket cage mounted in gold by Fabergé (no.88), as well as a Chinese shalestone bowl mounted in silver-gilt by Fabergé (no.131).