Late Warring States/Early Western Han period (ca.3rd c.BCE)
Length: 9.2 cm.
Diameter: 5.4 cm.
Exhibited and Published
Lustrous, Enduring, and Translucent. Jades from Traditional China, Elizabeth Childs-Johnson, 23 March - 6 April, 1999. Weisbrod Chinese Art, Ltd.
The light green foundation of this 'winged cup' is slightly altered to a composition of dusty, mostly chalk white areas. This cup imitates the lacquer version typified by two ear-shaped handles that was mostly as a product of southern manufacture during the Warring States and Han eras.
Here a ring handle is added to one of the short ends, suggesting the whim of the artist in designing this copy. Two handles are hollowed out on top and bottom, A supporting oval-shaped foot is also hollowed out in creating a smooth polished surface. Decor is found on the top edges of the ring handle as bands on the two ears and as three framed broader bands encircling the animal mask is revived from earlier times as an incised image decorating the handle. The uppermost band is composed of related simple animal masks with inward curling buffalo horns that alternate with passages of incised striated lines and S-shapes with raised nodules.
The middle band from afar appears to be characterized by three rows of raised nodules and on closer look by an asymmetrical pattern of incised horizontal or vertical C-shapes with raised end or single raised curls motifs are not densely packed but rather are generously distributed within the bands framed by narrow bas-relief ridges. Another variation of the C-curl appears in the decor of bottom band, Again, the interest in textural variation appears in the striated shapes, incised C-curls and raised nodules.
As with entry this small-scale cup reflects the aesthetics Of the late Warring States and Early Han pen. The addition of ring handle to a cup form characterizes the covered jade from the Winthrop collection, discussed in entry #43, and also the equally refined cups from the Early Western Han tomb of the King of Nanyue and Palace Museum in Beijing (Zhongguo quanji, vol. 4. 1993. pls. 86, 235 and text pp.254, 303).
The former cup is 14 cm. tall. The jade walls of the cup are decorated with a similar patterns linked and raised spirals. The latter cup differs in that it bronze inlaid jade. Jade winged cups of Warring States date are also said to come from Jincun, Luoyang (see the example in the Winthrop collection published in Loehr. no.522 and in the Freer Gallery of Art. Hansford, 1972. pls.38B. 39B). One of the latter examples in the Freer is 13.2cm. long (Lawton, 1982. fig, 102. p, 155).
The prototype for the jade earred cup is the lacquer version represented in Chu excavated throughout south China (Sichuan, Hubei, southern Henan, Anhui. Hunan). See, for example the box with ten earred cups excavated from the tomb no. 168 at Fenghuangshan, Jiangling county, Hubei of Early Han date that came to Germany and England for exhibit (see e.g. Rawson. 1996. no.92. pp, 182-183). Winged cups continued to be made. but in silver. as late a.s the Tang (see Zhongguo Wenhua Dageming, 1972. p.50).