Description: Jade. China, Eastern Zhou, 4th - 3rd century BC
This second bead, slightly later in date than the previous one, is shaped like an elongated barrel and it is carved from a very nice quality of semi-translucent green jade with some light brown patches at the extremities of the bead. The centre is decorated with two animal masks which recall the taotie face motif often cast on bronzes of the Shang dynasty (c.1600-1050 BC). Above and below the masks there are three rows of small bosses linked with thin, incised lines: this pattern is mostly seen on Eastern Zhou jades of high quality and found in burials of top ranking aristocrats. The extremities are then decorated with two narrow bands filled with incised, slanting and parallel lines. A small suspension hole is drilled throughout the length of the bead and the whole decoration is in low relief.
A similar barrel-shaped bead with narrower extremities and decorated with incised linked spirals is in the Freer/Sackler galleries, accession number S1987.558, height 3 cm:
Compare also a late Eastern Zhou bead from Gallery Zacke, carved in white jade and of slightly different shape, decorated in the centre with the same pattern of linked scrolls and with two animal mask at the ends:
A necklace composed of tubular, conical and barrel-shaped beads was discovered in an Eastern Zhou tomb at the ancient capital city of the Lu state, Qufu county, Shandong province:
玉坠 - 东周, 公元前5世紀-前4世紀
高 5.1 厘米; 宽 1.8 厘米
HEIGHT 5.1 CM - WIDTH 1.8 CM
From a German collection
Notes: 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".
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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.