Xia Dynasty Zhangs(夏代玉璋)-Ancient Chinese Ritual Jades

璋一般由援(鋒刃),欄(作成扉牙狀的繩索系痕部分),內(木柄鑲裝部分)組成。 器物形態當源自、鉞、一類兵器。 璋為中國古代禮器六器之一最早見於夏代二裡頭文化遺址。夏代牙璋(七峰)L.51cm, W.12cm,雙向鑽孔,上端為七個尖峰,中下方兩邊各有三組鋸齒,兩面各有兩行淺浮雕幾何紋,有明顯溶蝕孔及土沁.

Xia Dynasty Jade Ring,夏代玉瑗 D. 9.8cm, 75grams


Carved with pale green tone jade, the ring has a symmetrical design on both sides with motif of six low relief  toads. Toad is the first stage of frog which is believed a typical motif of Xia Dynasty. The turquoise frogs shown here  are unearthed from the Er-li Tou site of  Xia Dynasty.



Appraisal Indexes:

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


Xia Dynasty (2183 BCE- 1751 BCE)

According to “The Age of Xia, The Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji)” of Sima Qian, the Xia Dynasty lasts about four hundred years from 2138 BCE to 1751 BCE. The Erlitou Culture found in Yensi Hsien of Honan Province in 1975 has been confirmed to be the Xia Dynasty. From the available Xia Dynasty jade artifacts found, we can see the rich variety of Xia Dynasty jade artifacts. They  include jade ring, jade ax, notched zhang, notched bi-disk, arched plaques most of which are rather large and thin in size and have symmetrical lines. Parallel and intersection incised thin lines are used to form simple and concise motif. Moreover, many Xia jades have the trellis design consisting intersecting straight lines to form close and inseparable rhomboid shape that further to generate the  exaggerated effect and the feeling of the mystery and solemnest that these ritual artifacts are carrying.shanhaijing_illustration_of_nuwashiji

Although the existence of Xia Dynasty is still doubted by some typical historians disregarding the existence of “The Age of Xia, The Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji)”.  In addition to “The Age of Xia, The Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji)”, the Chinese classic book Classic of Mountains and Seas (Shan Hai Jing) also contain some 01300000821754127065428880188clues to its existence. Recently, some sources from the internet mentioned that the characters of the Xia Dynasty have a system different from the oracles of Shang Dynasty.

There are some sources claimed the characters based on the scripts from some doubtful jades. Both the jades and the characters cannot be verified before an objective authentication process has been done. The starting period of Xia Dynasty falls in the range of later period of Hongshan Culture around 2000 BCE. There are some jade artifacts have motifs of Hongshan Culture with ancient characters different from the oracle of Shang Dynasty. Those jade artifacts may be identified as Xia Dynasty jades or Hongshan Culture jades. It is possible that the Xia Dynasty was established by the offspring’s of Hongshan people. Some source claims that Xia Dynasty relates to the Liangzhu Culture.