Online Collection

Collections



Asian Art Museum Logo
Ritual implement (cong)
良渚文化 玉石 獸面紋琮
Place of Origin: China, Jiangsu province or Zhejiang province
Date: approx. 3400-2200 BCE
Object Name: Ritual object
Materials: Nephrite
Dimensions: H. 2 1/4 in x W. 3 5/8 in x D. 3 5/8 in, H. 5.7 cm x W. 9.2 cm x D. 9.2 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Jade And Stones
Object Number: B60J603
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 14
Culture: Liangzhu culture

Description

Label:

Made of opaque brownish-ivory jade with beige veins, this tube's surface is polished to a high luster. It forms a squat cylinder with four corner panels, each of which is divided by a central ridge at an angle. Each panel has a monster-like face in shallow-relief, depicting doubly-outlined eyes, a slightly raised nose, and an incised mouth with two hooked ends. The face is accented by two series of dense, short parallel lines in intaglio on the forehead. The central opening was drilled from either end, leaving a ridge in the middle.

For a long time before the 1970s, the cong tube was not recognized as an ancient artifact. In the last two decades, archeological excavations of the Liangzhu culture in Zhejiang-Jiangsu have uncovered many tombs of different scales. The large ones that contained funeral jades, including cong, were covered with in high mounds of earth, as opposed to lesser graves set in flat areas around the same villages. Jade articles, unquestionable, were the symbols of high social position or superior function. Cong tubes, along with a few other forms with distinctive decorations, are believed to have served heads of tribes for ritual purposes. A Liangzhu jade cong, with one or more tiers, is often adorned with the monster-face motif, which, no matter how differently being interpreted by scholars, reflects the ancient belief in the sun-god or something related to Heaven. Originating in the Liangzhu culture, the jade cong later spread far from the lower valley of the Yangzi River, to Guangdong in the south and northern Shaanxi in the north.
(published: d'Argence 1977: 36)


More Information

Exhibition History: "Stones of Eternity: Chinese Jades from the Asian Art Museum", Tooley & Company, The Hibernia Bank Building (201 California Street, San Francisco), 2/10/1986 - 2/1987
"Chinese Neolithic Jades from Western Collections", China House Gallery, New York, 4/19/1988 - 6/19/1988
"Chinese Jade: Stone of Immortality", Cernuschi Museum, France, 9/26/1997 - 1/4/1998
Label:

Made of opaque brownish-ivory jade with beige veins, this tube's surface is polished to a high luster. It forms a squat cylinder with four corner panels, each of which is divided by a central ridge at an angle. Each panel has a monster-like face in shallow-relief, depicting doubly-outlined eyes, a slightly raised nose, and an incised mouth with two hooked ends. The face is accented by two series of dense, short parallel lines in intaglio on the forehead. The central opening was drilled from either end, leaving a ridge in the middle.

For a long time before the 1970s, the cong tube was not recognized as an ancient artifact. In the last two decades, archeological excavations of the Liangzhu culture in Zhejiang-Jiangsu have uncovered many tombs of different scales. The large ones that contained funeral jades, including cong, were covered with in high mounds of earth, as opposed to lesser graves set in flat areas around the same villages. Jade articles, unquestionable, were the symbols of high social position or superior function. Cong tubes, along with a few other forms with distinctive decorations, are believed to have served heads of tribes for ritual purposes. A Liangzhu jade cong, with one or more tiers, is often adorned with the monster-face motif, which, no matter how differently being interpreted by scholars, reflects the ancient belief in the sun-god or something related to Heaven. Originating in the Liangzhu culture, the jade cong later spread far from the lower valley of the Yangzi River, to Guangdong in the south and northern Shaanxi in the north.
(published: d'Argence 1977: 36)


Exhibition History: "Stones of Eternity: Chinese Jades from the Asian Art Museum", Tooley & Company, The Hibernia Bank Building (201 California Street, San Francisco), 2/10/1986 - 2/1987
"Chinese Neolithic Jades from Western Collections", China House Gallery, New York, 4/19/1988 - 6/19/1988
"Chinese Jade: Stone of Immortality", Cernuschi Museum, France, 9/26/1997 - 1/4/1998