Jade. China, Eastern Zhou period, 4th - 3rd century BC
This elegant ring, carved out of a piece of white jade still retaining its translucency, and showing a distinctive russet patch, is an item of personal adornment which became popular in China during the Eastern Zhou period, when such rings were used together with other jade ornaments in the composition of pectorals and other types of articulated pendants. In the Chinese traditional terminology such rings, which present a fairly large central perforation and a reduced surface for decoration, are labelled huan.
The present example shows on both sides of the ornament a regular pattern formed by the repetition of a basic decorative module centered on small raised and joined curls which dot the surface of the ring. This decorative scheme is repeated all over the surface of the ornament. Additionally, on each side there are four finely carved taotie-masks.
There are several rings of this type to which the present one can be compared: see for example the ring illustrated and discussed in J. Rawson, Chinese Jade, no. 17:2 which is similar in dimension, stone and workmanship but which exhibits a slightly different pattern made of small, interlinked scrolls.
DIAMETER 11.5 cm
Provenance: Private Collection of Irene and Wolfgang Zacke.
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