This thick axe with a smooth contour has a lovely amber colour, and although the shape is rather imperfect, it presents some very interesting details. It is asymmetrical with a diagonally cut top side and varying degrees of sloping on the sides and bottom curve. The surface is slightly rounded and the axe thins ever so slightly towards the cutting edge. On one side, to the right of the central hole, there is a thin vertical ridge that begins near the top and extends down about two-thirds of the length: the ridge results from the slicing of the block of jade during the initial shaping of the axe. The hole for attachment is smooth within and has been drilled on a slight diagonal. The jade, smooth but not polished to a high finish, is greenish with striations of a darker green, almost black–grey, with whiter vertical lines and calcified areas, mostly along the edges. When held to the light, the jade displays a beautiful deep amber colour, determined by the natural inclusions of iron in the stone. Literature comparison/Archaeological sites: Roughly shaped axes such as the present one were occasionally carved by the late Neolithic cultures based in central and north-western China. The type of jade, the polishing and the carving techniques suggest a possible attribution to the Qijia culture of Gansu province. Compare with three Qijia culture axes published in F. Salviati, 4000 Years of Chinese Archaic Jades, Vienna 2017, nos.126-128.
All jades in this catalogue have been professionally examined, authenticated and described by Prof. Fillipo Salviati. Professor Salviati teaches Chinese and Korean art at Sapienza University in Rome, in the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies. He is a world expert on archaic Chinese jades, having released multiple publications and being cited by renowned auction houses such as Sotheby’s.