Description: Jade. China, Eastern Zhou, 4th-3rd century BC
Small rings like this one were used in the Eastern Zhou period as elements of pendants made of several different jades, often in combination with beads such as those illustrated in other Lots of this auction.
The decoration consists in clearly defined small spirals in relief with the contour marked through incised lines, arranged in regular rows: this type of motif is the most frequent pattern on discs and rings of the 3rd - 4th centuries BC and continues on the jades carved during the Western Han period (206 a.C. - AD 9).
Though rich in inclusions, the light grey and semi-translucent jade is very fine, though the colour is mostly concealed by extensive surface alteration which creates the effect of a cloudy sky. Two natural fissures in the jade which run across the body of the ring in two different points are highlighted by the oxidised iron, which creates shades of grey and black around the cracks.
Compare a ring of 4.6 cm in diameter and decorated with a similar though more coarsely executed pattern in the Freer/Sackler galleries, Washington, D.C. (object number S1987.709):
玉谷纹瑗 - 东周, 公元前4世纪-前3世纪
DIAMETER 5.3 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.