Lot 32. AN EXCEPTIONAL OPENWORK ORNAMENT WITH AN INTRICATE DESIGN OF DRAGONS AND BIRDS

Starting price:€ 4 000
Auction date:29.09.2017   16:00 UTC +02:00
Archive
ID 7370
Lot 32AN EXCEPTIONAL OPENWORK ORNAMENT WITH AN INTRICATE DESIGN OF DRAGONS AND BIRDS
Jade. China, Eastern Zhou, 5th – 4th century BC
鏤空龍鳳紋玉佩- 東周時代, 公元前5世紀-前4世紀

WIDTH: 9.7 cm
寬 9.7 厘米

The design of this intricate openwork ornament requires an attentive look to discern the pattern. The complex design, formed by four dragons and four stylized phoenix-like birds with undulating bodies, is identical on both sides and demonstrates the carver’s amazing skill: the rigorous sense of symmetry is typical of ornamental plaques of this type that, during the Eastern Zhou period, were mostly crafted in southern China and in the cultural sphere of the Chu state.

At the top centre, two dragons with addorsed heads are flanked by two stylized upside down curling birds, whose heads are recognizable by the circle-shaped eyes and curved beaks with an incised line at the centre. The tails of the pair of central dragons are also carved as two additional bird heads, whose crests join right in the middle of the openwork pendant. Two more dragons are carved at the bottom left and right of the pendant: their s-shaped bodies recall the form of the dragon-shaped pendant JAK917-034 in this auction.

Although the ornament appears flat, there is actually a very slight sense of low relief to the carved patterns. In fact, eighteen small, bold curls in relief, carved in correspondence to the dragons’ snouts and ears, mark the points where the truncated limbs of the animals protrude from their bodies. Many additional incised details complete the surface decoration: strips filled with parallel, diagonal lines are incised at the centre of the dragons’ bodies; etched areas are carved on the tails of the two dragons at the bottom; and sets of equidistant double-incised lines complete the decoration of the animals’ bodies.

The jade is of a translucent darker brownish color in the centre with a more altered, lighter brown, almost beige tint on the outer area.

Literature comparison/Archaeological sites: Four plaques of a similar style and jade are illustrated in F. Salviati, 4000 Years of Chinese Archaic Jades, Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, nos.217-220. For two more additional examples see M. Loehr and L.G. Fitzgerald Huber, Ancient Chinese jades from the Grenville L. Winthrop collection in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA) 1975, nos.501 and 503.

Expertise: Prof. Dr. Filippo Salviati

From an Austrian collection
奧地利老佔有

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.

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Galerie Zacke
Mariahilferstrasse 112
1070 Wien
Austria
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Preview26.09.2017 - 28.09.2017
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