Neolithic Period, Hongshan Culture
(circa 3500 – 2200 BCE)
Height: 20.2 cm.
Old Massachusetts Collection (prior to 1986), Springfield, Mass. Winter Antique Show, New York, 1986
Michael B. Weisbrod, Inc., New York, purchased in 1986
J. Abraham Cohen Collection, 1988
Important North American Collector (since 1993).
No similar very large Black Jade Double Bi is recorded or published.
The large black jade ceremonial object is fashioned to be a double Bi disc or number 8 from a stone of black colour with a very dark green tint, and having white and beige inclusions including deep cloudy calcified areas. The surface is typically very smooth to the touch, while the body of the “8” is rounded and flows smoothly into the two holes left in the middle of both the upper and lower section. Notches separate the smaller top Bi from the larger bottom Bi on both sides. The smooth patina is enhanced by the “skin” showing areas of degradation, bubbling, and scratches from the millennia of burial and the effect of the earthly minerals and water.
One very large Dragon is known and is seemingly carved from this same stone, actually of slightly larger size, now in the National History Museum, Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China. The dragon was found in Inner Mongolia at Sanxingtala . Although it was not excavated, it was found amongst nearby “Hongshan” burials.
A smaller black Jade Dragon of similar stone is published by Angus Forsyth & Brian McElney, Jades from China, number 7, The Museum of East Asian Art, Bath, England.
A much smaller Double Bi carved from yellow - green Jade is in the collection of The British Museum, London.
It is curious that this Double Bi forms the number “8”, possibly the origin of the lucky number in China. It is probable that this symbolic ceremonial object from the Hongshan Culture of Neolithic Period, China, already held some auspicious meaning for the Chinese, or they would not have used it for thousands of years. This very well could be the cultural source for the revered lucky number “8” in modern Chinese society.