Northeast China, Hongshan culture, Neolithic Period, ca. 3800 to 2700 BCE. An incredible and rare example of a goblet carved from a single piece of jade stone that is a translucent, pale green with small veins of brown hues. The body of the vessel is a long, tapering cylinder with the interior sanded to be very smooth. The exterior has a lightly raised surface with tightly repeated comma curls around all but the rim of the body. The rim has a register of incised "Z" patterns. The foot is perhaps even more remarkable - carved out with drills and other tools, it is hollow, with a flared foot and a bulging upper portion. The skill needed to carve the inside of the foot speaks to the many hours of work that went into creating this beautiful object. Size: 2" W x 4.95" H (5.1 cm x 12.6 cm)
Chinese art has incorporated jade since the Neolithic period; quarries for nephrite, the formal name for jade, have been found in modern-day southern Mongolia that date to ca. 4000 BCE. The stone was prized for its hardness, its beautiful coloration, and its durability. By the third millennium BCE, we know that jade had also come to be associated with immortality. Jade was used to make everything from everyday household objects and decoration to the ceremonial suits in which Han dynasty emperors were buried – with the belief that jade would preserve the body and the soul for eternity.
Provenance: private Bangkok, Thailand collection
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