Disk (bi 璧)

The markings on the interior of the central perforation indicate that it was worked from both sides. There are irregularities in the outer edges of the disk. Several chips in the edge, which is rough. Also: Surface cracks and scratches. The inner hole is roughly carved and nicked.

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
Diam x D: 31.2 x 1.6 cm (12 5/16 x 5/8 in)
Geography
China, Lake Tai region
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1987.453
On View Location
Smithsonian Castle, Commons Room
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 1959
Abel William Bahr (1877-1959), Shanghai, China, London, England, Montreal, Canada, New York, NY, and Ridgefield, Connecticut [1]

From 1963 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, purchased from the Bahr Collection in 1963 [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [3]

Notes:

[1] According to information provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 9, 2009.

[2] See #86: "Dark brown and green mottled. Disk with centre hole of uneven drilling, from both sides. Outer edge slightly concave. All outer edges rough," on list provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 9, 2009, copy in object file.

[3] Pursuant to the agreement between Arthur M. Sackler and the Smithsonian Institution, dated July 28, 1982, legal title of the donated objects was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on September 11, 1987.

Previous Owner(s)

Abel William Bahr 1877-1959
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987

Description

The markings on the interior of the central perforation indicate that it was worked from both sides. There are irregularities in the outer edges of the disk. Several chips in the edge, which is rough. Also: Surface cracks and scratches. The inner hole is roughly carved and nicked.

Published References
  • Dr. Paul Singer. Masterpieces from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. .
  • 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. 79.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
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