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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5624
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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I've acquired an Antique Black Jade, Bone, or Ivory Cat

Customer Question

I've acquired an Antique Black Jade, Bone, or Ivory Cat statue. It is carved, and appears to be white under the black when carved or heavily scratched. It is 6 1/2" tall and only about 1 1/2" wide. It weighs 409 grams, and know it is to heavy to be resin. There are circles and dots carved on it, plus the eyes and mouth is carved. We have several photos of it and can attach if needed. The family states it was acquired 80 + years ago from a traveling the World Grandmother.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Bill,

This is Robert here and I would be happy to help with your carved cat figure.

Thanks for the excellent photo. Could you very kindly add one of the bottom.

Many thanks and wait to hear.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Robert, Here is the link to more photos of the cat. in case you don't see them attached here. I look forward to your results.
Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Bill,

This wonderful cat figurine was made in the Kisii region of Western Kenya, in east Africa, and a popular souvenir from there in years gone by. Yours probably dates to the 1950s or earlier.

It's carved from soapstone, a soft species of rock that is easily carved and almost white. The finished carving is dyed black and the features, and circle and dot shapes, carved through by sgraffito to the natural white of the stone beneath creating a pleasing high contrast design.

Sadly there seems to be very little collector interest in these Kisii cats which is a shame because they are highly decorative and deserved to be better known about.

This example, a little less detailed than yours, sold on eBay this year for a mere $17.00.

Yours would certainly be worth more than that; I would give it an auction (or eBay) value in the range of $30 - $50. It would therefore have a full retail value (if you saw it for sale in an antique store) of at least $100 and is what you should insure it for.

I do hope this helps!

Best wishes,

PS. If there's anything more I can help you with on this, please don't hesitate to ask. If not, could you very kindly rate my services (with the stars or "accept" button) as this is how I get paid by JustAnswer at no extra cost to you. We can still continue to communicate here on this thread after you do. And if you have another item you'd like to ask me about, just start a new Question and put "For Robert S....." in the subject line. Thanks, R.