Neolithic Period, Liangzhu Culture (ca. 3400 – ca. 2200 BCE)
Length: 22.7 cm.
A Distinguished Chinese Collector Important North American Collector
Exhibited & Published:
Weisbrod 30 Years, An Anniversary Exhibition, Spring 2002, Weisbrod Chinese Art, Ltd., New York, no. 1M.
The large axe is flat on both sides and trapezoidal in shape, tapering gently from the center to the edges. The bottom or cutting-edge tapers to a sharper point than the other three sides. The upper third of the axe is perforated with two holes that were drilled from both sides, leaving a ridge in the center of both. Polished to a smooth sheen, the axe is carved from grey-green jade, which is still visible on one side where white streaks run through it, while the other side has altered completely.
It is believed that these axes were developed from stone axes that were used in everyday tasks. The earliest of these stone precursors date to the 5th millennium BCE and were found among the cultures of the eastern coast. The perforated jade axes were attached to a wooden handle and often jade fittings were attached to either end of the handle, see Rawson, pp. 124-5. In Tomb 139 at Fu Quan Shan, Qingpu, outside Shanghai, twelve very similar jade axes were found laid on either side of the body of the deceased, see Lawton and Lentz, p. 216, fig. 2.
This wide shape is typical for axes of the Liangzhu culture. A similar but smaller yue axe with only one perforation, also from the Liangzhu Culture, is in the Kwan Collection, see Yang Boda, number 38. A smaller and narrower axe with two perforations, found with two haft fittings, is in the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Hangzhou, see Xiaoneng Yang, number 31. A similar, but slightly smaller, axe carved from bluish-green jade is in the Shanghai Museum and, when excavated, was found on the upper right arm of the occupant of Tomb 144 in Fu Quan Shan, see Huang, p. 34. A similar, but smaller, axe with only one perforation is in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, see Teng Shu- P’ing, number 122.
Reportedly discovered in Zhejiang Province.