This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 55
獸面紋玉琮- 良渚文化, 公元前33世紀-前22世紀
The cong is one of the most peculiar types of jades created by the Liangzhu culture, and its basic shape is epitomized by the present example. This enigmatic object, whose exact function has not yet been fully understood, has an external squared section and an internal, cylindrical perforation. The triangular registers carved on the exterior of the cong are always decorated with stylized masks, the most widespread motif seen on Liangzhu jades. As illustrated in this example, the masks incised at the corners of the cong are of two types. Those carved in the top registers have anthropomorphic features, with a short bar standing for the mouth, small rounded eyes rendered by two concentric circles and two parallel bands on the top filled with striated lines. The second type of mask is zoomorphic and is characterized by round, slanting eyes joined by a slightly arched bar. The present cong has a wide perforation and thin walls, so that it looks like a cylinder with the rectangular panels projecting from ist surface. By virtue of its small size and large central perforation, this type of cong is labelled ‘bracelet-shaped’ cong.
Similar examples have been excavated from the graves of two important Liangzhu Culture cemeteries, Yaoshan and Fanshan, located in Yuhang County, Zhejiang Province, near the city of Hangzhou. The jade used to carve this cong is translucent and light green in colour with many brown spots generated by iron inclusions. A somewhat similar example was excavated at the Liangzhu culture Fuquanshan site, tomb M6:21. For an online image of the excavated cong see http://masterpieces.asemus.museum/ masterpiece/detail.nhn?objectId=10877
Provenance: From an Austrian private collection