Eleven-tier tube (cong 琮) with masks

Squared, hollow cylinder of the type ts’ung [cong] 琮; very tall form with wide projecting collar at both ends; bored from both sides leaving slight median ridge; richly mottled reddish brown, olive green, and dull yellow; scattered veins of cream white decomposition and some dark, rough incrustations; decoration: channeled and incised grooves, corner ridges and faint circles. (Collar chipped.)

Acquired with box and stand, now lost.

Maker(s)
Artist: Liangzhu culture 良渚 (ca. 3300-ca. 2250 BCE)
Historical period(s)
Late Neolithic period, ca. 3300-2250 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
H x W x D: 28.5 x 7.5 x 7.6 cm (11 3/16 x 2 15/16 x 3 in) Diam (hole): 4.9 cm (1 15/16 in)
Geography
China, Lake Tai region
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1916.410
On View Location
Freer Gallery 19: Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Jade
Type

Ceremonial object: cong

Keywords
China, Late Neolithic period (ca. 5000 - ca. 1700 BCE), nephrite
Provenance

To 1916
Wang Jiantang, Shanghai to 1916 [1]

From 1916 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Wang Jiantang in 1916 [2]

From 1920
The Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Original Miscellaneous List, S.I. 995, pg. 214, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Wang Jiantang (C.L. Freer source) late 19th-early 20th century

Description

Squared, hollow cylinder of the type ts’ung [cong] 琮; very tall form with wide projecting collar at both ends; bored from both sides leaving slight median ridge; richly mottled reddish brown, olive green, and dull yellow; scattered veins of cream white decomposition and some dark, rough incrustations; decoration: channeled and incised grooves, corner ridges and faint circles. (Collar chipped.)

Acquired with box and stand, now lost.

Label

Ritual tubes (cong) of this height are rare and have been found only in the richest graves. The foot-long perforations drilled through such an intractable material as jade as evidence of a highly advanced jade-working technology.

Published References
  • Geoffrey WIlls. Jade of the East., 1st ed. New York, 1972. fig. 17.
  • Julia Murray. Neolithic Chinese Jades in the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 14, no. 11 Hong Kong, November 1983. p. 20.
  • Elizabeth Childs-Johnson, Fang Gu. Yuqi shidai: Meiguo bowuguan cang Zhongguo zaoqi yuqi [The Jade Age: Early Chinese Jades in American Museums]. Beijing, 2009. p. 123.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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