Jade. China, Qijia Culture, c. 2200-1600 BC
The geometric simplicity of this miniature cong renders it extremely contemporary in form. Unlike the Liangzhu culture cong which were decorated with masks motifs, this small plain Qijia cong totally lacks surface decoration. Carved to almost pure perfection with only some slight variation in surface width on the collars, the jade exhibits all the essential features of Qijia jades: purity of form and exploitation of the natural inherent qualities of the stone.
The cong, in a white variety of jade found in deposits in Qinghai province, presents some white speckles and striations as well as a couple of areas where the jade is dark brown, mostly located on one of the collars. The stone is polished and fairly smooth, but not shiny, and the core is rougher with the usual central ridge. There are also some deposits of calcification in the nicks on the top edge of one of the collars.
Compare a related Qijia culture cong of a similar jade at Christie’s New York in Dongxi Studio- Important Chinese Jade and Hardstone Carvings from a Distinguished Private Collection on 17 March 2016, lot 909, sold for USD 27,500, and another at Christie’s Hong Kong in Chinese Archaic Jades from The Yangdetang Collection on 29 November 2017, lot 2713, sold for HKD 937,500. See also another but smaller cong from the collection of Robert H. Ellsworth at Christie’s Hong Kong in The Pavilion Sale – Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on 5 April 2016, lot 1, sold for HKD 93,750. Furthermore, a cong carved from a very similar jade is published in F. Salviati, 4000 Years of Chinese Archaic Jades, Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 103.
HEIGHT 7.7 cm, WIDTH 5 cm
Provenance: Collection of Prof. Filippo Salviati, acquired in a Nanjing antique shop in the late 1990s.
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