Jade Stepped Axe
Jade Stepped Axe
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Jade Stepped Axe

Neolithic Period, Liangzhu Culture (ca. 3400 – 2200 BCE)
Length: 14.1 cm

Provenance:

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 axe is rectangular in cross-section with a short tang with beveled edges that steps up to the blade. The blade is cut at an oblique angle on the top and bottom to form an asymmetrical triangle as the blade comes to a point, while the sides are very carefully squared off. The tip of the blade was well sharpened and has a few chips, indicating that it could have been used for more than a ritual purpose. Polished to a high lustre, the axe is carved from green jade now altered to a fine white with grey-green streaks.
The stepped axe is found in cultures of the east and southern coasts of China. According to the opinion of Rawson. “Stepped axes do not seem to have been worked in jade.” (P.170). However it seems , evidenced by this present group of objects, that this was not the case. The stone of this and the following adze seem very much the same stone as other objects found together, although the state of alternation varies from object to object.
A similar, but longer, stone stepped axe from the Liangzhu culture is published in Rawson, Chinese Jade, as number 10:3. Two slightly shorter stone stepped axes are published in Salviati, numbers 21 and 22.
Reportedly discovered in Zhejiang Province.