Disk (bi 璧)

citation

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.

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
Accession Number
F1956.16
On View Location
Currently not on view
Type

Ceremonial object

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.

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.

Label

1. Bought from Tonying and Company, Inc., New York. For price, see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920.
2. (Thomas Lawton, 1978) Attribution changed from Early Chou [Zhou] 周 to Shang 商.
3. (Stephen Allee, April 7, 2008) As per Jenny F. So, Jade Project Database, changed Period One (Shang 商 dynasty) to (Late Neolithic period), changed Date (1600--1050 BCE) to (ca. 2500--2000 BCE), Object name (Ceremonial Objects). Added: Artist (Qijia 齊家 culture), Geographical region (Northwest China); plus Description and Related Objects per Jenny F. So and Dimensions per Christine Lee, from Jade Project Database. Also, identification as nephrite entered as per Elisabeth West Fitzhugh, as determined by x ray diffraction, February 1956.
Under Related Objects, added "(Jenny F. So, from Jade Project Database) Cf. reference to a large disk 'as large as a straw hat' that was recovered (in 1950s--60s) with a cong 琮 from Chang'an 長安 Shangchuancun 上川村. The disk was reportedly sold by a local sometime in the late 1970s. Site and cong 琮 given traditional Western Zhou 周 dates, but conceivable that they may be earlier (Dai Yingxin 戴應新, "Shenmu Shimao Longshan wenhua yuqi tansuo 神木石峁龍山文化玉器探索," Gugong wenwu yuekan 故宮文物月刊 The National Palace Museum Monthly of Chinese Art 1993.8, p. 49). Cf. Slightly smaller but thicker disk in the Paul Singer collection [S1999.120.2]: identical material."
4. (Jeffrey Smith per Keith Wilson, July 17, 2008) Ceremonial Objects added as secondary classification.
5. (Stephen Allee per Keith Wilson, March 23, 2009) Date changed from "2500--2000 BCE" to "ca. 2250--ca. 1900 BCE." In Medium, designation "nephrite" confirmed by Janet Douglas using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (January 8, 2009).

Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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