In 1929, more than four hundred pieces jade artifacts were found by a farmer called Yann Dao Chun in the Kwanhan City in Szechwan Province in China. Since then, excavations have continued by local archaeologists and the mystery of the Ancient Sze Kingdom has started to attract the curious minds worldwide. In 1986, several thousand pieces of gold, bronze, jade artifacts, ivories have been unearthed in Sanxindui by local archeologists. The mystery of the Sanxingdui Culture has invited many conjectures. Some source claimed that Sanxingdui culture was the culture of Emperor Zen in 3000 BCE. Some sources believed that it covered the period of the Dynasties of Xia, Shang, and Western Zhou to Warring States.
Most jade artifacts from the Sanxingdui Culture are made of nephrite and are extraordinarily and elaborately carved. The variety of jade artifacts is rich. In addition to individual ritual jades such as jade congs, zhangs, kweis, there are many jade heads with protrude eyes and wide ears. In particular, there are jade priests holding ritual jades of bi, cong, kwei and huang. There are also jade knights holding sword standing on the jade cong decorated with open work style jade elephant heads. The shapes of ritual jades are identical as those of the Shang Dynasties through Warring States. Researches wonder whether the Sanxingdui Culture has influence on those of the Shang Dynasty or the ritual jades of Shang Dynasty has influence on the Sanxingdui jades. The Sanxingdui jade artifacts of priests and knights with displayed prominent pupils and wide ears have invite lots of explanations without any consensus. Some jade heads even have rectangular cubic gadget similar to the antenna of flying objects. No wonder that many people believed that they are related to other cultures not originated in China, even some people claimed that they are from an extraterrestrial civilization. Some Sanxingdui Culture jade such as jade heads has scripts of which the meanings are unknown yet. The meanings of those scripts will absolutely help to explore the mystery of Sanxingdui Culture. As far as the ivories are concerned, researches have put an effort to find out where were these ivories from. Some claimed that these were the trade items from Southeast Asia states in ancient time. However, from the jade figurine that has the elephant cong suggested that the elephants were local. In a nutshell, many mysteries of the Sanxingdui Culture need the clues from the artifacts to explore.
Dated back around four thousand years ago, Qijia Culture covered Kansu, Ningxia and Chinghai Provinces of the Yellow River Areas. The variety of jade artifacts from Qijia Culture is various. Typical jade artifacts from this period are jade knives, zhangs, kweis, bi and congs. Most of the jade artifacts unearthed are found with plain and smooth surface.
A unique feature of Qijia Culture jade artifacts is the uni-directional hole-drilling, resulting in visibly irregular edges. Most of the jade artifacts unearthed are found with plain surface. It is claimed that if a Qijia artifact has motif, then its genuineness is doubtful. Typical jade artifacts from this period are fine carved thin jade knives and zhangs with fine polished smooth surfaces.
地理區而言, 齊家文化分佈於甘肅, 青海及寧夏,就歷史的長河而言, 齊家文化距今約四千年. 齊家文化玉器種類繁多, 但多以素麵為主. 其工藝的特徵是單向鑽孔, 留有毛邊. 薄片切割的精美玉刀是代表作.古方認為”就目前考古資料而言，齊家文化玉璧和玉琮主要發現於中國西北地區的甘肅、青海和寧夏的齊家文化遺址和墓葬中，其中以甘肅最多。甘肅出土地點有：靜寧縣治平鄉後柳溝村、靜寧縣深溝鄉晨光梁、定西市團結鄉高泉村、定西市安定區內官營鎮四月八山和清溪村、定西市安定區三十里鋪、武
富的地區，也說明傳世的玉璧和玉琮應該來源於上述地區。蘭州梅景峰認為齊家文化玉料開片後有四 個特點：一是平整，二是光潔，這一點從殘存的玉料開片上看得很清楚，只經過開片工序，留下的面沒有經過打磨也很光滑，有自然的光潔感；三是很多玉璧和殘存的玉料上都有當時開片留下的直線切割痕跡；四是大多數玉璧厚薄不均。如果一件玉璧呈規則的圓形，且孔壁很直，那可能就不是齊家文化的玉璧了。至於線刻紋飾和減地浮雕等，這些技法在真正的齊家文化玉璧上還沒有發現。Samples are as follows:
- Qijia Culture Jade Cong 齊家文化玉琮
- Qijia spindle-shaped bi L. 8cm, W. 8cm, 120grams
- Qijia Culture Jade Zhang齊家文化玉璋
- Qijia Culture Jade Ax, H.21cm,W. 20cm,T. 0.3cm, 520grams齊家文化玉戚
- Qijia Cultural Jade Zhang, L.35cm,W. 7cm, T.0.5cm, 250grams
- Qijia Culture Jade knife,齊家文化玉刀L. 36cm, W. 9cm T. 0.5cm, 800grams
- Notched Jade Ring, D. 8cm, T.0.2cm, 60grams
- Qijia Culture Jade Bi,齊家文化玉璧 D. 23cm, T.0.3cm
- Qijia Culture Jade Knife, 齊家文化五孔白玉玉刀L. 46cm, W. 12cm T. 0.5cm,800grams
- Qijia Culture Jade Kwei, L.30.5cm
Dated back four to five thousand years, Liangzhu Culture mainly covered the area of Lake Tai in southern China. The varieties of jade artifacts of Lanzhou Culture are rich. They include jade Cong which is the most popular jade item, jade arched plaque, jade septic, jade trident, ax-shape plaque and jade cicada. With the spirit’s face as a major motif, the Liangzhu Culture jade artifacts are featured slim incised lines. The extraordinary elegant workmanship of Liangzhu Culture jade artifacts are always touching the hearts of professional collectors worldwide at all times.
The jade artifacts of Liangzhu Culture have three significant elements worth considerations. The first element is the impact on the motifs of jade artifacts of the later periods. For example, the god’s face motif constitutes the major motifs of the Spring and Autumn Period. The curling claws shown under the God’s face constituting the claws of the dragon for the Shang and Western Zhou dynasties. Second, many Liangzhu Culture jade artifacts with smooth cut marks on the surface of the jades of which the reasons behind that are still unknown. Third, many Liangzhu Culture jades are carved with the shape not in proportion to the boundary of raw material. This is the practice called carving under the limitation of the size of the material. This is the practice that let the carving object bigger with an imperfect proportion of artwork rather than carving smaller object with perfect proportion of artwork. Sample jades are as follows:
1.Liangzhu Culture Jade Trident良渚文化三叉形器
2.Liangzhu Culture Jade Cong良渚文化玉琮
3.Liangzhu Culture Jade Cong 良渚文化鳳冠玉琮
4. Liangzhu Culture Jade Tubes, 良渚玉管
5.Liangzhu Cultural Jade Plaque良渚文化玉珮,w.7cm
6.Jade Cong, H. 6.6cm, D. 5.2cm, 251grams
7.Jade Plaque, L.13.5cm, W.6.5cm
8.Jade Septic, 良渚文化錐形器L.33.5cm, W.3.5cm
9.Liangzhu Culture Dual huang Bi良渚文化璜形璧
10.Liangzhu Culture Jade Cicada