This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 124
玉斧- 青銅器時代早期, 齊家文化, 公元前2200-1600
This type of jade axes and ceremonial blades were manufactured by cultures located in central and north-western China, such as Qijia. The shape of this blade recalls that of the Dawenkou and Longshan culture axes, from which it derives: they are thin, with a pronounced rectangular, tablet-shaped profile and the edges are smooth but not rounded. The hole to secure the axe onto the handle is drilled from one side only of the jade and the surface is polished. As for the bi discs and the cong tubes, the jade used by the cultures of the northwest is not uniform and the colour changes dramatically on the basis of the mineralogical composition of the jade whose main tone is usually yellowish or pale green. In any case, the carvers took advantage of the complexity of the material and skilfully created items of prestige with rich and variegated textures that were further enhanced by the translucency of the stone. Actually, these blades are brilliant and resplendent when the light filters through, while they look opaque and duller if placed on a surface. When exposed to the light, the brown and reddish areas become semi-transparent and yellow-gold coloured, while the white zones, free from inclusions and impurities, are fully translucent.
Provenance: From an Italian private collection