Eastern Han Dynasty Musical Slabs, 東漢四靈紋白玉玉磬14.2-10.3cm

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東漢四靈紋白玉玉磬14.2-10.3cm. 玉磬是一種古代的玉石制樂器, 《禮記·郊特牲》:「諸侯之宮縣,而祭以白牡,擊玉磬…… 諸侯之僭禮也。 」 孫希旦 集解:「玉磬,《書》所謂鳴球,天子之樂器也。 」 唐 柳宗元 《渾鴻臚宅聞歌效白紵》詩:「朱脣掩抑悄無聲,金簧玉磬宮中生。」《孟子·萬章下》中寫到:「集大成也者,金聲而玉振之也。 」本器白玉雕琢, 以出廓及淺浮雕技法, 結合幾何學美感形狀, 以四靈為圖案制作完美玉磬, 《三輔黃圖》卷三:「蒼龍、白虎、朱雀、玄武,天之四靈,以正四方。玉磬紋飾之佈置如下: 鳳鳥完全出廓立於長股上緣, 龍首於短股出廓, 龍身位於短股以淺浮1 (1)雕呈現, 白虎及玄武淺浮雕於長股面.Eastern Han Dynasty Jade Musical Slabs, W. 14.2-10.3cm. Carved with white jade, these musical slabs have the shape of polygon making of two trapezoids. On the convex side is seen a whole phoenix and dragon head. On the plane, there are low relief tiger and turtle coupled with snake. The carving is of masterpiece with skillful technique.

Appraisal Indexes:
1. quality of jade: 10
2. rareness: 9
3. historical and cultural significance: 9
4. workmanship: 9
5. size:7
6. condition: 10

Variety of Hand Gesture of Antique Jade

 

 

Hand gestures are usually seen in Chinese antique jades. For example,  both hands of Shang Dynasty’s bird man are holding back with a posture ready for fighting. The hands of Sanxingdui Culture jade priests are seen with half hold fists of different orientation may suggest certain kind of religious meaning.  玉祭司与已出土三星堆文化铜人雷同. 双手也是呈半握拳式, 似乎托着某种器物. 但是双手半握拳中空部分的角度并不同, 从宗教的角度来解释可能较为合理.

The Evolution of Jade Cong 玉琮的演變

 

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Jade cong is one of the ritual jades ( the others are bi, huang, kwei, tiger, zhang ). The evolution of jade cong may be observed from the shape and motif aspects. In terms of  shape aspect, jade congs have evolved from early Liangzhu Culture’s broader top-narrow bottom shape into late Liangzhu Culture’s and Spring-Autumn period’s equal width top and bottom shape, and further into Warring States’ narrow top-broader bottom jade congs. In terms of motif aspect, jade congs have evolved from early Liangzhu Culture’s deity face to  late Liangzhu Culture’s deity face coexists with crown to Spring-Autumn period’s auspicious cloud or sign to Warring States’ dragon and priest. For similar article, please read A Timeline of Jade Cong 玉琮年譜.

玉琮與玉璧, 玉璜, 玉圭, 玉璋, 玉琥同為中國古玉的六瑞.