Description: Jade. China, Late Neolithic period, Qijia culture, c.2200-1900 BC
Instead of being carved from a single piece of jade like the previous two items, this disc is actually formed by three arched segments, probably sliced from the same block of raw material. Each arched segment has both ends drilled with one and two holes, respectively: when the three segments are joined together to form a disc, the ends with one hole match those drilled with two. Such composite discs, formed by two to four segments and of varying dimensions, have been found in several burials of the Qijia culture, which developed in North-west China, and represent one of the most characteristic type of jades of this late Neolithic culture. Qijia sites which have yielded three-section discs like the present one include Zhaocun, in Tianshuishi, Gansu province, and Minhelajia, in Qinghai province. Here, tomb M17 has yielded two examples of such discs: in the first instance the three segments have been found buried in the soil and composed in the shape of the disc, while in the second the three portions were stacked one upon the other. This suggests that these peculiar items were either composed in a single shape or used independently as ornaments. The photographs accompanying the description of this lot have been taken to illustrate both alternative mode of composing together the arched-shaped sections of the disc.
The jade is of good quality, mostly creamy white and translucent, with patches of light yellow colour and darker veins and speckles. A disc carved from a somewhat similar type of jade and from Gallery Zacke can be seen at this link:
A similar three-part disc of smaller size and in green jade, part of the Robert H. Ellsworth collection, was auctioned at Christie's New York on 19 March 2015, Sale 11420, Lot 505:
三節玉璧- 新石器時代晚期，齊家文化, 公元前2200-1900
直径 17.5 厘米
DIAMETER 17.5 CM
From an Italian 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.