This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 130
玉斧- 青銅器時代早期, 齊家文化, 公元前2200-1600
This axe has a pronounced rectangular though still tapering profile, a slightly rounded top and a less marked cutting edge. The sides are bevelled and the hole is drilled from one side only of the highly textured jade, whose diffused iron inclusions and natural fractures create stunning visual effects, showing how the craftsman was able to take full advantage of the raw material and carve out of it an object of imposing beauty. The material itself clearly indicates that this jade axe was not produced by the late Neolithic cultures of Southern China, such as Liangzhu, which made use of local sources of jade characterized by a different crystalline structure and different colours. In size and shape it can be compared to a similar object excavated from a tomb in Shandong province and dated to the late period of the Dawenkou culture (c. 4500 - 2500 BC, reproduced in Childs-Johnson, “Dragon, masks, axes and blades”, fig. 12). The colouring of the jade out of which the present axe was crafted displays similarities with axes and blades found in late Neolithic sites distributed in central and north-west China and with others in public collections, such as one in the British Museum reproduced in Rawson, “Chinese Jade”, p. 177, fig. 1.
Provenance: From the collection of the German palaeoanthropologist G. H. Ralph von Koenigswald (1902 - 1982), acquired around 1939 in Beijing