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    Sale 2388

    Important Chinese Jades from the Personal Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman Part II

    27 November 2007, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1599

    A GREENISH-YELLOW JADE ZOOMORPHIC MASK PENDANT

    Price Realised  

    A GREENISH-YELLOW JADE ZOOMORPHIC MASK PENDANT
    LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 13TH-11TH CENTURY BC

    Of triangular concave form, carved as a stylised ram's head with two well-defined eyebrows rising up the bridge of the nose continuing on to form scrolling horns either side of a central striated fringe of hair, all above large nostrils flanked by moustache-like spirals, the stone of a greenish yellow tone, the surface of which has largely turned to a chalky-beige colour
    1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm.) high, stand


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    Comparable zoomorphic jade masks appear to have originated during the Shang dynasty and continued on into the Western Zhou dynasty. The chamfered double-line decorative technique and incised details on the present piece would suggest Shang rather than Western Zhou dating.

    While the curling horns seem to indicate a ram-like creature, the highly stylised decoration coupled with the propensity during this period to combine features from different animals make it very difficult to establish whether it is a representation of any specific animal. J. Rawson discusses the rarity of jades that closely resemble taotie masks in Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, London, 1995, p. 220 where she explains that 'jade and bronze were used in different contexts and each material had its own design traditions'.
    Cf. a similar example from the collection of Mrs Edward Sonnenschein illustrated by A. Salmony, Carved Jade of Ancient China, London, 1982, pl. XI, no. 4. Another jade mask, more clearly idetifiable as a ram's head was unearthed from the tomb of Lady Fu Hao, illustrated in Jades from the Yin Sites at Anyang, Beijing, 1981, pl. 64, no. 364.

    Literature

    Robert Kleiner, Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, Hong Kong, 1996, no. 9


    Exhibited

    Christie's New York, 13-26 March 2001
    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 2003 - December 2004