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Jade Muskox

  • created 2005
  • nephrite polar jade & marble
  • 8”H x 20”W x 9”D (21cmH x 51cmW x 23cmD)
  • private collection, West Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sculptor Michael Binkley received a commission from a long standing patron, Heinz, who is a huge fan of the green nephrite jade of British Columbia, Canada. In the 1990’s, a new variety of nephrite jade was discovered and christened “polar jade.” This jade has the additional colours of teal blue and slashes of electric bright green in amongst its beautiful deep green and black background colour. Heinz purchased a small block of polar jade and asked Binkley to propose a sculpture to carve from it.

After communing with the jade block for a little while, Binkley saw a muskox hidden in the stone. Heinz was excited with the prospect of an original fine art wildlife sculpture and Binkley set to work. As nephrite jade is an extremely hard and very dense stone to carve, it took the artist a while to wrest the muskox free. Binkley honours the solidity of the jade by keeping the composition simple and allows the stone’s beautiful colours to take the viewer’s  primary attention. The folds of the animal’s thick coat seem to move as the muskox gallops across the snowy tundra. Binkley polished the body, head  and hooves of the muskox to a high gleam mirror-like finish and gave a roughened texture to the animal’s legs for contrast. He sculpted the horns and the snow-like base from white marble.

The result was a delight for Heinz.