Faceted huan, China, Warring States Period (approx. 480-221 BCE). Nephrite. Diam. 3 1/4 in x D. 1/8 in, Diam. 8.3 cm x D. .32 cm. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60J823 © 2017 Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture.
While the majority of Warring States jades are decorated with a relatively set repertoire of surface patterns, there is a small group which is undecorated. This huan is an example. For obvious reasons, this group is difficult to date. However, a number of the type come from excavated sites and close observation can reveal techniques that are characteristic of the period. There seems to be an evolution of this type of undecorated huan from those with flat edges to examples in which the edge is quite sharp. Archaeological evidence indicates that the latter group dates to the early Western Han dynasty.
A number of these huan made from other hardstones such as agate have been found, suggesting a growing interest in the decorative qualities of these stones during the Warring Sates period an on into the Han dynasty. Like the huan discussed above, most of these pieces appear to have been made as parts of pendant sets. A lacquered wood yong from the Chu state tombs at Changtaiguan, Xinyang, Henan shows one example of how these large jewelry assemblies were put together during the fourth century B.C.
This piece is quite thin and is cut from light yellow Khotan jade. The stone has minor inclusions and areas of cloudiness. A significant portion has been stained brown; some of the staining is surface only while in other areas it appears to be quite deep.
1. Forsyth, plate 123
2. Forsyth, plate 131
3. Yang, no. 169
4. Kaogu, 1991, p. 408, no. 5, plate 5