Discs formed by segments of jade that were sliced separately and then joined together are one of the most common categories of jades crafted by the Qijia culture of north-western China. This disc, with a slightly irregular contour, is actually made of three arch-shaped segments- called huang 璜 in Chinese- that when assembled and tied together, create a complete disc. The single sections, each with a hole drilled roughly in the centre of each short side, were cut from the same block of an almost marble-like jade. Qijia carvers fully exploited the natural qualities of the unevenly coloured stones, typical of north-western China, that were available to them: they created fascinating objects with no carved decoration, whose main appeal is in the purity of shapes and the various nuances of colours embedded in the stone.
The semi-translucent jade, of a beautiful quality, is white in colour with black and brown areas that fade into each other. The chalky white strips and patches that are visible along the outer edge of each section were caused by natural processes of alteration of the stone that occurred during burial: in the areas affected by these changes, the jade has turned opaque. When placed one on top of the other, the white markings on the edges match perfectly, suggesting that the three sections were piled up in the tomb, and not composed in the form of a disc.
Literature comparison/Archaeological sites: Compare a similar disc in three parts sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on 1-2 June 2017, sale HK0732, lot 362. (http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2017/chinese-art-hk0732/lot.362.html) and another from the Robert H. Ellsworth collection, auctioned at Christie’s New York on 19 March 2015, sale 11420, lot 505 (http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/an-olive-green-jade-three-part-disc-northwest-china-5876562-details.aspx?from=salesummery&intObjectID=5876562&sid=c6e71fd6-749f-4820-b99c-e537a22014eb).
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.