Neolithic Period, Liangzhu Culture (ca. 3400 – ca. 2200 BCE)
Lengths: 4.8 cm, 4.5 cm, 4.8 cm, 4.6 cm
Heights: 3.1 cm, 2.8 cm, 2.9 cm, 2.7 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 four jade fittings are roughly in the shape of upside-down triangles, oblong in cross-section. The top edges are rounded and perforated with a round hole that runs the length of each fitting. On either side of the perforation are two small, squared-off protrusions. Each fitting swells in the center and tapers toward the edges. Two lines subtly carved in relief delineate the top register on the fittings, after which the fittings taper dramatically to a “waist.” At the waist of each fitting, an oblong protrusion, carved in low relief on the front and back, juts out from either side.
Just under this protrusion, each fitting is perforated through its width, drilled from each side until the holes meet the lengthwise opening. The fittings are carved from a grey-green jade. The original color is visible in very small areas, while the rest of each fitting has altered to a creamy white. These fittings are very rare. No other fittings such as these seem to be published.
Although scholars are not certain for what purpose these fittings were used, the lengthwise and widthwise perforations lead us to believe they were used as some kind of ornament, attached in the upright position shown in the photograph. Perhaps they were attached to some sort of baton or headdress.
Fittings for an axe haft, of similar bell shape, have perforations into which the wood handle of the axe would fit that are much wider, see Yang, number 31. Although the fittings in question must have served a different purpose, they are stylistically similar to the axe haft fittings which were discovered in Fanshan, Yuhang, Zhejiang Province. Loehr publishes an object he calls a stone “Mace Head (?)” that looks similar in shape to the fittings, however it is much larger, measuring 16.5 cm in length. The mace head is not definitively dated, but in Loehr, 1975, number 584, the author mentions another such object in the Freer Gallery of Art (No. 19.52), dated tentatively to the Shang Dynasty, an attribution that pre-dates excavated evidence of Neolithic Period jades.
Reportedly discovered in Zhejiang Province.