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Lot 68. A jade arc-shaped 'animal mask' ornament, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Spring and Autumn period (770-475 BC); 6.3 by 5.3 cm, 2 ½ by 2 ⅛ inEstimate: 240,000 - 300,000 HKD. Courtesy Sotheby's.

the convex surface divided into two registers with a raised band, each of the register skilfully worked with an animal mask flanked by a pair of birds, each detailed with a hooked beak and round eye, all between two flanges decorated with scrollwork and pierced with two apertures.

Property from the Hei-Chi Collection.

LiteratureJiang Tao and Liu Yunhui, Jades from the Hei-Chi Collection, Beijing, 2006, pp. 80-81 top.

NoteExquisitely carved, the present piece represents one of the rarest, most prestigious type of jade ornaments reserved only for nobility in the Wu and Chu states in the late Spring and Autumn period. A closely related arc-shaped ornament of comparable size and design was unearthed in Yangshan, Jiangsu. The excavated example is similarly modelled with a pair of confronting animal masks flanked by bird heads. Unlike the present example, however, the reverse is decorated and there is a small movable ring, carved from the same block of jade, originally fitted to one end of the ornament; see Yao Qinde with an introduction by Hsio-Yen Shih, ‘Spring and Autumn Period Jades from the State of Wu’, Chinese Jade: Selected Articles from Orientations 1983-2003, Hong Kong, 2005, pp. 114-119, fig. 12, together with a parrot-head arc-shaped ornament, fig. 13.

Sotheby's. Monochrome II, 9 October 2020, Hong Kong