Jade. China, late Neolithic period, Liangzhu culture, c. 3300-2200 BC
Published: Filippo Salviati, 4000 Years of Chinese Archaic Jades, Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, p. 42-43, no. 46.
Of circular form with a central aperture drilled from both sides to form an encircling ridge. The variegated stone of a deep green and russet tone with darker green shadings, patches of grayish-beige color, and extensive veining.
Bi disks are a type of jade which continued to be crafted in numbers by cultures located in central and northwest China during the transitional period between the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The majority of these discs range in size between ten and twenty centimeters: large ones, such as the present lot, are rare. Their size and weight, requiring both hands to hold them, suggest that these imposing discs were displayed and used in a ritual context. The bi’s surfaces were thoroughly polished, with the exception of the central aperture, which was drilled from both sides of the jade using sections of bamboo and sand abrasives, with the ridge in the center marking the point where the two holes meet.
Museum comparison: Compare a related jade bi, dated c. 2500 BC, 32.5 cm diameter, in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, accession number A.42-1936.
Auction comparison: Compare a related jade bi, dated c. 2000 BC, 34.1 cm diameter, at Christie’s New York in Fine Chinese Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections on 18 March 2009, lot 277 (sold for USD 194,500).
DIAMETER 45.8 cm
Provenance: Private Collection of Irene and Wolfgang Zacke.
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