This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 118
玉璧- 青銅器時代早期, 齊家文化, 公元前2200-1600
This attractive disc is carved from a pale green, semi-translucent jade with large brown and reddish areas: part of the body is also covered by dark speckles. The chalky-white patches visible along the rim are portions of the jade which have been heavily modified while the disc was buried in the tomb: these alterations occur as a reaction to the acidity of the soil or if the jades were put in contact with the corpse. As it is often the case with jades from North-west China, the central hole has been drilled from one side only and the core was probably chopped off, as suggested by the slightly rugged look of the rim bordering the hole.
Discs carved in jade and stone are among the most common artefacts discovered in burials of the Qijia culture: one of the most richly furnished tombs of the Huangniangniangtai site, in Gansu province, has yielded more than eighty stone discs. The tomb was a joint burial, with a male in the centre accompanied by two females on the sides: all of the bi discs were found positioned near the male skeleton.
Several similar discs from the collection of Robert H. Ellsworth (1929- 2014), together with other jades from Chinese cultures of the northwest, were auctioned at Christie’s New York, sale 11420, 19 March 2015: see lot 559 for a disc comparable. A close comparable example carved in a differently coloured stone is a disc from Gallery Zacke, catalogue number AK1115-111.
Provenance: From an old Austrian-Hungarian collection