• Fine Chinese Ceramics and Work auction at Christies

    Sale 2405

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    25 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1040

    A RARE MOTTLED OLIVE-GREEN JADE HOOF-SHAPED TUBULAR ORNAMENT

    NEOLITHIC PERIOD, HONGSHAN CULTURE, CIRCA 3500 BC

    Price Realised  

    A RARE MOTTLED OLIVE-GREEN JADE HOOF-SHAPED TUBULAR ORNAMENT
    NEOLITHIC PERIOD, HONGSHAN CULTURE, CIRCA 3500 BC
    Probably a hair ornament, the walls of the oval tube flaring somewhat from the oblique lower edge to the upper edge which rises in a curved arch along one side, the semi-translucent stone with veins of black inclusions and veins of buff mottling showing mica-like inclusions, with a lustrous polish and some small surface adhesions
    5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm.) high


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    This distinct shape of jade has been labeled 'horse hoof' or mati by Chinese archaeologists excavating Hongshan cultural sites in Liaoning and northern Hebei provinces. The working of the jade tends to be thinner at the upper walls of the tube. They are now thought to be some kind of hair ornament, as they have been found under or next to the head of the occupants of Hongshan tombs. A photograph of Tomb 4 at Liaoning, Niuheliang, area 11, showing a hoof-shaped jade beneath the head of the deceased, is illustrated by J. Rawson, Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, British Museum, 1995, p. 116, fig. 1. One of these ornaments from a tomb at Liaoning, which appears to be of similar color to the present piece, and which has two holes drilled on either side above the lower edge, is illustrated by Xiaoneng Yang, ed., in The Golden Age of Chinese Archaeology: Celebrated Discoveries from the People's Republic of China, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1999, pp. 83-4, no. 11.
    Two ornaments of this type in the Winthrop Collection, are illustrated by M. Loehr, Ancient Chinese Jades, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, 1975, no. 323, a shorter version that has a similar scooped shape to the top rim and appears to be of similar stone, and no. 324, which has a more even upper edge. See, also, two others illustrated by Yang Boda in Chinese Archaic Jades from the Kwan Collection, Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1994, nos. 8 and 9, both of which have a similar upper edge.

    Provenance

    C.T. Loo & Co., New York.
    Frank Caro, New York, acquired prior to 1977.


    Exhibited

    Exhibition of Chinese Arts, C.T. Loo & Co., New York, 1 November 1941 - 30 April 1942, no. 249.
    An Exhibition of Chinese Archaic Jades, C.T. Loo & Co. at Norton Gallery of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, 20 January - 1 March 1950, pl. XXXVII (3).