Lot 4. AN EXTREMELY RARE AND IMPRESSIVE TALL CONG WITH MULTIPLE REGISTERS DECORATED WITH SIMPLIFIED HUMAN-LIKE MASKS

Starting price:€ 16 000
Auction date:29.09.2017   16:00 UTC +02:00
Archive
ID 7342
Lot 4AN EXTREMELY RARE AND IMPRESSIVE TALL CONG WITH MULTIPLE REGISTERS DECORATED WITH SIMPLIFIED HUMAN-LIKE MASKS
Jade. China, Late Neolithic, late phase of the Liangzhu culture, c.2400-2200 BC
罕見神人紋多節玉琮精品 - 新石器時代晚期, 良渚文化晚期, 約公元前2400-2200年

HEIGHT: 34 CM, DIAMETER OF INNER HOLE: 6.7/4.7 CM
高 34 厘米,內孔直徑 6.7/4.7 厘米

This extremely rare, tall cong 琮, measures an impressive forty centimetres and is an amazing feat of workmanship. Similar towering cong were crafted in the late phase of the Liangzhu culture and have mostly come to light in sites in northern Jiangsu and southern Shandong provinces. Other comparable examples are known from private and public collections in the world.

This cong has ten vertical and regular registers carved on each corner: each register is decorated with anthropomorphic masks, similar to those engraved at the corners of cong JAK917-002 in this auction.
The masks have incised, circular eyes and a smooth carved band standing for the mouth topped by two bands of thin, parallel, incised lines that enclose a plain strip. Each register is separated from the next one by a slightly recessed carved groove. The jade between the short band representing the mouth and the striated bands at the top is also abraded, so that the features of the masks appear slightly more highlighted when the cong is looked at from one of its flat sides and the masks are seen in profile. Two collars protrude from the top and bottom of the cong, which has a slightly tapering profile: while the circumference of the collars is quite irregular in thickness and shape, the rest of the cong is amazingly regular in structure, as can also be seen in the precision of the incised lines and carved areas.

The colour of the jade includes various tones of green mixed with a reddish brown area that runs along half of one collar and down two of the sides. There are some black speckles, white patches and crack-like lines that cross the jade, as well as extensive areas of calcification that cover roughly one-half of the cong. The exterior is polished and mostly smooth, except where calcification is present, whereas the core has only been smoothed down to a certain point of the inside collar area.

Literature comparison/Archaeological sites: Similar tall cong with ten to twelve registers have been discovered in tombs of the late Liangzhu culture site of Sidun (Wujin county, Jiangsu province), and are reproduced in Zhejiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology 浙江省文物考古研究所, Liangzhu wenhua yuqi 良渚文化玉器 (Jades of the Liangzhu Culture), Wenwu chubanshe, Beijing 1990, nos.45-48. Further comparable examples are offered by four tall cong in the Samuel and Myrna Myers collection, published in J.P. Desroches (ed.), Two Americans in Paris. A Quest for Asian Art, Paris 2016, nos.33, 36, 39 and 40, and by an additional tall cong published in F. Salviati, 4000 Years of Chinese Archaic Jades, Vienna 2017,
no.56.

Expertise: Prof. Dr. Filippo Salviati

From a Luxembourg collection 盧森堡舊藏

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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Preview26.09.2017 - 28.09.2017
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