Archaic and Imperial China

Belonged to the collection of a French diplomat, posted in Beijing in the 80's.


Object :
Nº 1700
Medium :
Dimensions :
Width: 18.7 cm (7.3”) – Height: 10.7 cm (4.2”)

Description :

Large bi disc decorated with dragons in nephrite jade, made with high-quality precision and execution. Dark greyish-yellow colour with translucent areas. Calcareous deposits are visible but not perfectly homogeneous. The central hole is slight uneven and the thickness is irregular, ranging from between 4 mm to 5.5 mm. The disc is not perfectly level and has slightly rounded edges that are rough in some places. The finish of this object could only be done by using methods of friction, abrasion and polishing. Keeping in mind the dating of this piece, it could have been made using bronze tools. Very fine condition.

Nephrite jade is found in China in the form of pebbles in rivers. It usually comes from the regions of the lower Yangzi. For Neolithic jades the provenance includes Turkestan, Khotan and then Yardland. For the past 7000 years, particularly from the Neolithic period, the Chinese have mastered the working of jade, with a particular emphasis beginning in the Shang Dynasty up to the Han. It has always been under the strict control of officials. The composite material of jade, which is extremely hard, was clearly chosen based on symbolic considerations that enhance the purity associated with its hardness, and many values ​​in Chinese culture. Jade is attributed to the protection of the body by people that believe in the migration of the physical body from this life to that of our ancestors, or the realm of the immortals. In China the dragon is the symbol of heaven