18 March 2009,
New York, Rockefeller Center
Price realised USD 40,000
Estimate USD 6,000 - USD 8,000
TWO TRANSLUCENT GREYISH-GREEN JADE LONG FLAT BEADS
EASTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, 6TH-5TH CENTURY BC
One of rectangular shape, both sides carved with abstract dragons formed by scrolls interspersed with eyes and short striated panels, the two long edges cut with numerous notches, with slender central channel; the other of oblong shape recarved from what would have been a rectangular bead, both sides carved with the abstract bodies of two dragons that meet in the middle, with the head of one dragon at one edge and the head of the other at the opposite edge, the ends similarly, but later, carved with the forequarters of dragons, with a biconical hole at one end, perforated lengthwise, the stone of olive-green color with some brown veining
4¾ and 3 15/16 in. (12 and 10 cm.) long (2)
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Compare the similar jade bead illustrated by Bo Zhongmo in Guyu Jingying (The Art of Jade Carving in Ancient China), Taiwan, 1989-90, p. 105, no. 36, where it is compared to a similar bead excavated from a Spring and Autumn tomb in Henan province.
Rectangular bead: A.W. Bahr Collection, Weybridge, 1963.
Oblong bead: Frank Caro, New York, 1964.
New York sales achieve the highest-ever total for the auction series — a remarkable $332,783,188
Specialist Tristan Bruck advises on how to identify valuable pieces in different styles and materials from across Asia
Scholars’ objects were the luxury goods of their time — but they represented much more than monetary wealth