Ten-tier tube (cong 琮) with masks

This slightly tapering jade prism, or cong 琮, is square with a thick-walled, slightly recessed projection at either end. Straight vertical channels separate ten superimposed decorative units. These units, each of which is divided into two symmetrical halves that meet at the corners, consist of two bands, separated by a narrow horizontal channel. The wider, upper band is decorated with horizontal lines and the two concentric circles that can be read as “eyes.” The lower, narrower band can be interpreted as a nose. The central perforation, which was drilled from both ends, does not join perfectly.

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: 29.1 x 7.9 x 7.7 cm (11 7/16 x 3 1/8 x 3 1/16 in)
Geography
China, Lake Tai region
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Accession Number
S1987.887
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceremonial Object, Jade
Type

Ceremonial object

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

To 1959
Diedrich Abbes Collection, Greenwich, Connecticut [1]

From 1959-1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, purchased from the Diedrich Abbes Collection on July 10, 1959 [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 note on Arthur M. Sackler, M.D. letterhead acknowledging the "purchase and receipt of 17 pieces of stone carvings of the Shang, Yin-Chou and Chou periods from the Dietrich-Abbes collection. The price in full, exclusive of commission, will be paid as indicated by this note in two installments," copy provided by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation on July 9, 2009 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)

Diedrich Abbes 1866 - 1959
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987

Description

This slightly tapering jade prism, or cong 琮, is square with a thick-walled, slightly recessed projection at either end. Straight vertical channels separate ten superimposed decorative units. These units, each of which is divided into two symmetrical halves that meet at the corners, consist of two bands, separated by a narrow horizontal channel. The wider, upper band is decorated with horizontal lines and the two concentric circles that can be read as “eyes.” The lower, narrower band can be interpreted as a nose. The central perforation, which was drilled from both ends, does not join perfectly.

Published References
  • John Johnston Chan Lai Pik. 5000 Years of Chinese Jade. Exh. cat. San Antonio, Texas, 2011. cat. 3, p. 38.
  • Dr. Paul Singer. Chinese Art: A Thousand Masterpieces from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. Washington, DC, 2000. cat. 11, p. 60.
  • 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. 121.
  • America's Smithsonian: Celebrating 150 Years. Washington, 1996. p. 183.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Jades for Life and Death
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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