AN ANCIENT CHINESE JADE ‘PHOENIX’ STEM CUP

An Ancient Chinese Jade ‘Phoenix’ Stem Cup, Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 9). Height 4 ½ inches (11.3 cm).

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An Archaic Jade Ceremonial Dagger-Axe (Ge), Shang Dynasty, circa 13th-11th Century B.C. Length 10 1⁄8 inches (25.7 cm)© J.J. Lally & Co.

the thin blade with lightly beveled edges and shallow medial ridge curving gently to the point which is set off center, the tang pierced with a hole for hafting and cut with serrated teeth at the butt end, the stone of opaque olive-tan color, with darker and lighter mottling.

Ex Sotheby’s, New York, 3 December 1986, lot 2
Ex Collection Richard and Jean Salisbury
Ex J.J. Lally & Co., 1994 catalogue no. 34

A jade dagger-axe of similar form excavated in 1980 from a late Shang dynasty tomb in Laoniupo, Xi’an, Shaanxi province, is illustrated in Zhongguo yuqi quanji (Compendium of Chinese Jades), Vol. 2, Shijiazhuang, 1993, p. 117, no. 164. Another dagger-axe of the same type in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in the same volume, op. cit., p. 122, no. 170.

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A Neolithic Jade Notched Disc (Yabi)circa 3000-2500 B.C. Diameter 6 inches (15.2 cm)© J.J. Lally & Co.

the wide ring with outer rim carved as four truncated arms sweeping out from the broad central aperture, with three arms cut off abruptly at a shallow oblique angle, the fourth shorter arm ending in a bracket shape outline rising to a blunted point at the center, the thick convex sides tapering out to a rounded edge, the smoothly polished yellowish olive green stone with original russet brown inclusions and cloudy areas. 

Ex J.J. Lally & Co., 1994 catalogue no. 33

The earliest jades of notched disc form have been found at Dawenkou culture (circa4300-2300 B.C.) sites and many variations of the form have been documented in later Neolithic and early Bronze Age sites. The most typical examples are carved as flat discs with three arms. Examples with four arms are known, but they are relatively rare. Compare for example the notched disc with four truncated arms illustrated by Loehr, Ancient Chinese Jades from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, 1975, p. 102, no. 105; and another example with four arms of more typical form, op. cit., p. 104, no. 107.

Compare the very similar Neolithic jade notched disc of smaller size, in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Gugong bowuyuan cangpin daxi: yuqi bian (Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Jade), Vol. 1, Neolithic Age, Beijing, 2011, p. 250, no. 251.

Compare also the Neolithic jade notched disc with four truncated arms excavated from tomb no. 100 at a burial site in Qingliangsi, Ruicheng, Shanxi province, illustrated by Gu (ed.) in Zhongguo chutu yuqi quanji (Complete Collection of Jades Unearthed in China), Vol. 3, Shanxi, Beijing, 2005, p. 3, described as Second Phase of Miaodigou Culture (circa 3000-2500 B.C.). 

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An Archaic Jade Openwork Long Pendant, Eastern Zhou Dynasty, circa 5th-4th Century B.C. Length 3 3⁄8 inches (8.6 cm)© J.J. Lally & Co.

of flattened form, pierced and carved with pairs of beaked and winged dragons projecting from the long borders of the oblong center panel carved on both sides with a lively pattern of raised comma shape scroll motifs within raised borders, drilled with a longitudinal channel for stringing, the translucent yellowish green stone with glossy surface showing traces of cinnabar red. 

Ex J.J. Lally & Co., 1993 catalogue no. 81

A similar jade openwork long pendant of smaller size in the collection of the British Museum is illustrated by Rawson and Ayers, Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages, London, 1975, no. 133, with description on p. 54.

Compare the smaller jade pendant of related form unearthed from a Warring States tomb at Yanggongxiang, Chengfeng county, Anhui province, illustrated in Gugong bowuyuan cang wenwu zhenpin quanji (The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum), Jadeware (I), Hong Kong, 1995, p. 177, no. 147.

Compare also the two smaller jade pendants of related form excavated from tomb no. 1 at Shangwangcun, Linzi, Shandong province, now in the Zibo Museum, illustrated by Gu (ed.), Zhongguo chutu yuqi quanji (Complete Collection of Jades Unearthed in China), Vol. 4, Shandong, Beijing, 2005, p. 193.

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