Disk (bi 璧)

Pi [bi] 璧. Mottled green and brown nephrite.

(Jenny F. So, from Jade Project Database) Largest disk in the collection, and among the largest known. Conical hole with pronounced slanted wall. Gray green nephrite with dark green banding in original colors, not altered. Inhomogeneous but stratified texture unlike that often seen on Liangzhu 良渚 disks. Uneven surface, with remains of curved slice mark on one face. Finished size is almost size of original boulder, with “skin” spanning almost half the circumference.

Maker(s)
Artist: Qijia culture 齊家 (ca. 2250-ca.1900 BCE)
Historical period(s)
Late Neolithic period, ca. 2250-1900 BCE
Medium
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions
Diam x D: 46 x 1.5 cm (18 1/8 x 9/16 in) Diam (hole): 17.5 cm (6 7/8 in)
Geography
Northwest China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1956.16
On View Location
Freer Gallery 19: Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Jade
Type

Ceremonial object: disk (bi)

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

To 1956
Tonying and Company, New York [1]

From 1956
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Tonying and Company, New York [2]

Notes:

[1] See Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record. See also Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Tonying and Company

Description

Pi [bi] 璧. Mottled green and brown nephrite.

(Jenny F. So, from Jade Project Database) Largest disk in the collection, and among the largest known. Conical hole with pronounced slanted wall. Gray green nephrite with dark green banding in original colors, not altered. Inhomogeneous but stratified texture unlike that often seen on Liangzhu 良渚 disks. Uneven surface, with remains of curved slice mark on one face. Finished size is almost size of original boulder, with “skin” spanning almost half the circumference.

Published References
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. pp. 58-59.
  • Elizabeth Childs-Johnson, Fang Gu. Yuqi shidai: Meiguo bowuguan cang Zhongguo zaoqi yuqi [The Jade Age: Early Chinese Jades in American Museums]. Beijing, 2009. pp. 94-95.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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