Description: Jade. China, Eastern Zhou, 5th century BC
During the Eastern Zhou period, beads like this and the following one were strung together with other jades - discs, rings and huang or arched pendants - to make up elaborate necklaces worn by members of the nobility.
This bead has a cone-like profile, with one side shorter than the other. It is rather thick with a hole drilled throughout and it is carved in a variety of light-green, semi-translucent jade with black speckles and, where the iron deposits are more consistent, a brown strip running vertically. The surface is decorated with an incised pattern in low relief of fat c-shaped scrolls organized in nine over-imposed registers: the scrolls are interspersed with etched areas and some of them have incised circles, suggesting the eyes of stylized dragons. This type of pattern is typical of 5th century Eastern Zhou jades, as exemplified by the style of the jades found in the tomb of the Marquis Yi of the Zeng state, dated after 433 BC.
Compare a similar, slightly taller bead in the Joseph Hotung collection published in Jessica Rawson, Chinese Jade. From the Neolithic to the Qing, London 1995, no.17:17 (5.3x2.8 cm)
Another comparable example is in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, from the Avery Brundage collection 6.3x4.1 cm, object number B60J589:
A third similar bead from the A. W. Bahr (1877-1959) and Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987) collections was auctioned at Christie's New York on 14 September 2009, Sale 2389, Lot 59:
玉坠 - 东周, 公元前5世紀
高 4.8 厘米; 宽 1.3 厘米
HEIGHT 4.8 CM - WIDTH 1.3 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.