Lot 2752. A yellow jade carving of a head, Shijiahe Culture, circa 2500-2000 BC; 1 3/16 in. (3 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 600,000 - HKD 800,000. Price realised HKD 5,885,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019
The tubular carving is finely carved on the exterior in shallow relief with a face of disintguishing features including a wide flat nose, downturned mouth, and piered ears, below a headdress in the form of a raised band with incised rope-twist design, box.
Provenance: Lantien Shanfang Collection, acquired in Taipei in 1998.
Shijiahe Culture is a Neolithic culture developed around the middle reaches of Yangtze River, most notable for its exceptional and sophisticated jade carvings. It is named after the site of Luojiabailing in Shijiahe city, located in Tianmen of Hubei province, first discovered in the early 1980s. Areas around the Jianghan Plains form the nucleus of Shijiahe Culture, spreading across Hubei, south of Henan and north of Hunan. It is dated to circa 2500 to 2000 BC.
Note: The present tube tapers gently from the top to bottom, and is carved on one side in relief with a face complete with human facial features.
He is shown wearing a woven headdress and earrings.
Carvings of human faces form an important category among jades from the Shijiahe Culture, but are more often represented on flat rectangular surfaces. Tubular carvings with human faces are significnately rarer.
Compare with a similar tubular jade carving of a human face discovered at the Xiaojia Roof excavation site, Hubei Province, now in Jingzhou Museum and illustrated in Jade Objects of the Shijiahe Culture, Beiijng, 2008, p. 28, no. 3 (fig. 1).
(Text by Wang Mingda)
fig. 1. A tubular jade carving of a human face discovered at the Xiaojia Roof excavation site, Hubei Province, now in Jingzhou Museum. Photo provided by Wang Mingda.
Christie's. The Chang Wei-Hwa Collection of Archaic Jades, Part I - Neolithic Period, Hong Kong 27 November