• Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works  auction at Christies

    Sale 2389

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

    14 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 59

    A RARE PALE GREENISH-WHITE JADE BEAD

    EASTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, 5TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    A RARE PALE GREENISH-WHITE JADE BEAD
    EASTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, 5TH CENTURY BC
    Of waisted spool shape flaring more towards one end, the sides finely carved in low relief with three rows of scroll pattern alluding to dragons with circular eyes and rolled snouts interspersed with incised striations, within plain narrow borders and a finely hatchured border at the broad end, the upper and lower rims carved with C-scrolls joined by hatchured bands within plain narrow borders at the edges, the stone semi-translucent and well polished
    1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm.) high


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    Very similar scroll pattern incorporating circular 'eyes' and rolled snouts suggestive of dragon heads, can be found on a jade bead of more elongated proportions dated to the Eastern Zhou period, 5th century BC, illustrated by J. Rawson, Chinese Jades from the Neolithic to the Qing, British Museum, 1995, p. 274, fig. 17:17. The author suggests that beads of this type would "presumably have formed part of a complex of jades hung as a pendant from the waist". Similar scroll patterns can also be seen on the green jade hilt dated to the Eastern Zhou period, 6th-5th century BC, in the Hotung Collection, illustrated ibid., p. 64, fig. 45b, and on a jade bi and two cylindrical jade beads dated to the Warring States period illustrated by Bo Zhongmo in Guyu Jingying (The Art of Jade Carving in Ancient China), Taiwan, 1989-90, p. 113, fig. 44 and p. 116-7, figs. 47 (right) and 48 (right) respectively. Such surface designs were apparently influenced by fittings and rings made of gold, which had become widespread by the 8th century BC and which regularly appear in late Western Zhou tombs and in 8th-6th century BC tombs in Henan and Shaanxi.

    Provenance

    A.W. Bahr Collection, Weybridge, 1963.