Lot 3: PENDANT WITH MASK MOTIF
December 3, 2016
Vienna, Vienna, AustriaLive Auction
Jade. China, Hongshan culture, c.3500-3000 BC
This small rectangular pendant, carved from a thin slab of translucent green jade with a few dark spots in it, is carved with a pattern recalling a stylized mask seen frontally. The cut-outs in the centre suggest the eyes and eyebrows of the mask, while the row of straight, double-pointed protrusions at the bottom evoke the teeth of an animal, hence the Chinese epithet 'toothed' used to label these peculiar jades. The central protrusion at the bottom is slightly longer than those on the sides and seems to suggest the nose of the animal face carved on the jade. Two additional pairs of pointed tips extend from the sides, framed by the short and bold hooks carved at the corners. The surface has a soft, lustrous polish and all edges, including the pointed tips on the four sides, have been softened.
Similar though larger plaques decorated with stylized masks have been unearthed from tombs at the Niuheliang site, in Jianping county, Liaoning province, and from other Hongshan sites in Inner Mongolia.
The closest comparable example to the present plaque is represented by a similar, slightly larger (11 cm.) 'toothed' pendant presented by J. J. Lally & Co. in their exhibition Archaic Chinese Bronzes, Jades and Works of Art, New York, June 1994, and published in the accompanying catalogue as no. 7.
带齿兽面形玉佩 - 红山文化, 公元前3500-3000
宽 8.9 厘米 - 高 5 厘米
WIDTH 8.9 CM - HEIGHT 5 CM
From an Italian collection
All jades in this catalogue will soon be published in the forthcoming jade book by FILIPPO SALVIATI: "THE MYSTERIOUS STONE - Archaic and Antique Chinese Jades from Neolithic to Han from Private Collections".
Professor Salviati teaches Chinese Art at the University "La Sapienza" in Rome, Faculty of Oriental Studies, and is one of the world's most recognized jade experts, specialized in archaic jades until the Song Dynasty. Hi-resolution pictures of all jades are to be found in our web-site, and can be enlarged so that handwork, age-related traces of weathering, as well as colors are very well recognizable.