1. Bought from C. T. Loo and Company, New York. For price, see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920.
2. (John Ellerton Lodge, 1940). The rather complicated shape of this jade conveys no idea of its use; but the one decorated surface or front, and the four little vertically perforated bosses on the corners of the plain surface or back, indicate that it was designed for attachment to something as a "one way" ornament pure and simple. The decorations in the upper and lower zones are essentially alike; they confront each other and are, I think, highly stylized renderings of a face which, if not wholly human, is at least anthropomorphic. The head in the middle zone, however, is human without doubt, although its face is related in a general way, I believe, to the stylized faces in the zones above and below it, and, indeed, to a considerable number of heads and faces which appear on other jades in our Collection and on several more elsewhere.
Thus, the head in the middle zone is to be seen again, in profile, on the smaller end of our large, cleaver like blade (F1918.1.1; a ta kuei [dagui] 大圭?), and still again, full face, on one side of a small kuei [gui] 圭 (F1915.87) which, on its other side, is further ornamented with a spread eagle. A similar kuei [gui] 圭, published by Huang Chün [Huang Jun] 黃濬 in his Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 vol. 1 (Beijing: Zunguzhai, 1939), p. 7a-b, also has a face on one side and a spread eagle on the other; but in this case, the face is so highly stylized that it more nearly resembles the faces above and below the head in the middle zone. Now while the latter, as has been said, is essentially the same type of head as that carved in profile on one end of our large jade blade (F1918.1.1), it never the less lacks the two bracket like ornaments which are shown, in linear relief, as projecting from the back of the profile head behind the pendant locks on either side of the face and neck. These ornaments definitely link the profile head--and, consequently, the head in the middle zone (F1939.54) and that on our small kuei [gui] 圭 (F1915.87)--with three jade heads, numbered respectively LTS1985.1.276.1, LTS1985.1.276.2, and LTS1985.1.276.3, in the Gellatly Collection (National Collection of Fine Arts), and to two others reproduced in Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 vol. 2 (Beijing: Zunguzhai, 1939), pp. 38--39. The three Gellatly pieces are "two way" ornaments, that is to say, they are carved on both sides; LTS1985.1.276.1 measures .077 m in height and has one small socket drilled in the middle of its bottom edge; LTS1985.1.276.2 is .078 m high and has one socket in the middle of its top edge and another in the middle of its bottom edge; LTS1985.1.276.3 measures .035 x .069 m and has five equidistant sockets in its top edge, and one socket in the middle of the bottom edge. The sockets, of course, suggest that these objects, though in perfect condition, are not now in themselves complete, and may once have been parts of something,--though probably not the same thing. Thus, LTS1985.1.276.1, with but one socket in its bottom edge, is evidently a terminal ornament, or may simply have been pegged to a supporting base, while LTS1985.1.276.2 and LTS1985.1.276.3, with sockets in both top and bottom edges, must have had attachments above as well as below.
These observations also apply more or less closely to two of the Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 pieces (vol. 2, pp. 38--39), except that the latter are "one way" ornaments with plain backs. All five pieces exhibit full faces which are, perhaps, demoniacal rather than human, but are, nevertheless, related in many ways to the three human faces previously described. Thus, pierced ear lobes, bulbous noses and an effect of headdress, more or less pronounced, are common to all eight alike. The profile head (F1918.1.1), for example, wears a low crown; the head in the middle zone (F1939.54) wears a head band above which the hair projects a little way; while in the case of LTS1985.1.276.1 the hair rises above the band like a plume (see also Alfred Salmony, Carved Jade of Ancient China [Berkeley, CA: Gillick Press, 1938], pls. XXXII:4--5). Two (F1918.1.1 and F1939.54) of the eight have closed mouths; but the other six all display formidable teeth and even tusks. The bracket like ornaments, already noted in the case of the profile head (F1918.1.1), appear on five of the others, but in the same plane as the full face. In expression, the faces are all rather sinister; those on either side of LTS1985.1.276.3 are much alike; but those on LTS1985.1.276.2 are, respectively, almost like masks of Comedy and Tragedy, and the same is true of those on LTS1985.1.276.1. There is, indeed, ample evidence to show that the relationship among all these heads is, in many respects, fairly close,--a fact which has been observed also by Salmony (Alfred Salmony, Carved Jade of Ancient China [Berkeley, CA: Gillick Press, 1938], pls. VIII, XXXI and XXXII); but how closely they are related in time, and what date should be assigned to any or all of them, are matters about which evidence is either confused or lacking. For example, Salmony (Alfred Salmony, Carved Jade of Ancient China [Berkeley, CA: Gillick Press, 1938], pl. VII: 3) attributes our large blade (F1918.1.1)--and, by inference, the profile head (pl. VIII:1)--to the Shang 商 dynasty, whereas our small kuei [gui] 圭 (F1915.87), our ornament (F1939.54), the three Gellatly pieces and the two Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 pieces (vol. 2, pp. 38--39) he attributes (pls. XXXI and XXXII) to the "Early Eastern Chou [Zhou] 周 period" or 771--600 BCE according to his chronology. To me, however, it seems unlikely that both of these attributions can be correct unless, of course, the large blade (F1918.1.1) be regarded as a Shang piece to which the profile head was added later--a possibility which, if not obvious, is certainly not negligible. But in the case of our small kuei [gui] 圭 (F1915.87), such a possibility does not seem to exist: the face on one side and the spread eagle on the other have every appearance of being contemporary with the fashioning of the kuei [gui] 圭 itself, and presumably the same may be said of the similar kuei [gui] 圭 reproduced in Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 (vol. 1, p. 7).
There remain then, the questions: which of the characteristics of these two pieces affords the surest indication of date? And, within what limits can the date be reasonably set? Assuming that the two kuei [gui] 圭 are approximately contemporary, it is worth noting that, while the two spread eagles are closely alike in style and execution, the two heads are very different. On our kuei [gui] 圭 (F1915.87), the head is fairly naturalistic; but on the kuei [gui] 圭 represented in Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 (vol. 1, p. 7), the head is highly stylized: between them, indeed, these two heads practically span the whole range of representation seen in this entire group of faces, and thus support similar evidence--provided singly by our ornament (F1939.54) and by the front of LTS1985.1.276.1 (Gellatly)--that all these heads, whether naturalistic or stylized, must be regarded as not very far apart in date. In fixing that date, however, neither the heads nor the form of the kuei [gui] 圭 nor yet the form of the large cleaver like blade (F1918.1.1), separately or in combination, can be regarded as very helpful, since none of them, as far as I am aware, is a near enough relative of any other thing of which the period is really known. In general, I see no sufficient reason for attributing any of them to the Shang 商 dynasty: a Chou [Zhou] 周 date seems to me far more likely to prove correct--and for the heads, a later rather than an earlier. That our large blade (F1918.1.1), as such, could have been made in early Chou [Zhou] 周 times or even earlier, I am unable conclusively to deny; but were I to accept so early a date for it, I would also accept as fact the existing possibility that the profile head is a later addition. In the case of the two kuei [gui] 圭, however, I have no such latitude, since they and their decorations seem to me clearly inseparable in time.
It is, therefore, all the more important to observe how closely the spread eagle on either kuei [gui] 圭 resembles the one which forms part of the decoration of an elaborately carved jade ring reproduced by Huang Chün [Huang Jun] 黃濬 in Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 (vol. 2, p. 4b) and also by Henri d'Ardenne de Tizac, "A Propos d'un Disque de Jade," Artibus Asiae II, no. 2 (1927), pp. 138--39. In overall outline, this ring may be said to belong to the relatively rare type of notched jade rings classified by Wu Ta ch'eng [Wu Dacheng] 吳大澂 as hsüan chi [xuanji] 璿璣, or "astronomical instruments (ji) 璣" made of "a fine kind of jade (hsüan [xuan] 璿)." The two examples illustrated by Wu (in his Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集, vol. 1, pp. 50b, 52b) differ somewhat as to the number, arrangement and sharpness of their respective notches; but they are alike in their freedom from surface decorations--the straight lines drawn on one surface of one of them (op. cit., p. 50b) having some practical significance, perhaps, but certainly no decorative intention (see also Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 vol. 2 [Beijing: Zunguzhai, 1939], pp. 1, 2; and Hamada Kōsaku, Yūchikusai-zō kogyokufu [Tōkyō: Ueno Seiichi, 1925], pl. XVIII:38). About Wu 吳's well documented discussions of these rings, it is enough to say that his recognition of them as astronomical instruments is hardly more than tentative, while in dating them he merely expresses his belief that although they may not be as early as the Hsia [Xia] 夏 dynasty, they cannot well be later than Chou [Zhou] 周: evidently, he regards them as ancient, or, in his own words, "not remote from antiquity" (Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 vol. 2 [Beijing: Zunguzhai, 1939], p. 51b)--"antiquity" being the period of the Three Dynasties (op. cit., p. 52b), Hsia [Xia] 夏, Shang 商 and Chou [Zhou] 周, ca. 2205--255 BCE.
It seems fair to assume that if these hsüan chi [xuanji] 璿璣 were actually used as instruments of precision, the likelihood is that it was the plain ones rather than the ornate that were originally designed to serve such a purpose, and that the latter, as a symbolic rather than a practicable variety of the same sort of thing, may well be the later in date. To me, at all events, the elaborately carved ring, apart from its eagle, looks far more nearly related in design and execution to the carved jades of late Chou [Zhou] 周 than to anything much earlier, and I can say the same of the delicate spiral design engraved on the crown which adorns the head reproduced in vol. 2, p. 39, of Ku yü t'u lu ch'u chi [Guyu tulu chuji] 古玉圖錄初集 (see also Salmony, Carved Jade of Ancient China [Berkeley, CA: Gillick Press, 1938], pls. XXXII:2--3). These spirals are, I think, quite comparable with those so plentifully seen in the broad, middle band of decoration on one (F1939.5) of our large bronze basins, and on the handles of the other (F1915.107),--both vessels dating from a period not earlier than the middle of the 5th century BCE. This last observation is, no doubt, the nearest approach to direct evidence that has been adduced; but the major tendency of all available comparisons indicates, I think, a later rather than an earlier Chou [Zhou] 周 date for our ornament (F1939.54) and for the allied objects which have been considered in connection with it. A reasonable tentative date, then, for the whole group would seem to be middle Chou [Zhou] 周 (8th century BCE) or later--possibly much later.
3. (Undated Folder Sheet note) Sp. G. is 2.896.
4. (William B. Trousdale, 1964) Chou [Zhou] 周 dynasty. Early Western Chou [Zhou] 周.
5. (Thomas Lawton, 1973) The abstract designs in registers at either end of the plaque relate closely to designs found on a stone object unearthed at Liang ch'eng chen [Liangcheng zhen] 兩城鎮, Shantung [Shandong] 山東 province in 1963. See Liu Tun-yuan [Liu Dunyuan] 劉敦願, "Chi Liang-ch'eng chen i-chih fa-hsien ti liang chien shih-ch'i [Ji Liangcheng zhen yizhi faxian de liangjian shiqi] 記兩城鎮遺址發現的兩件石器," K'ao ku [Kaogu] 考古 1972.4, pp. 56--57. In the article the stone artifact is related to the Lung shan [Longshan] 龍山 culture, although the ornamentation is extraordinarily sophisticated for such an early date.
6. (Julia K. Murray, September 1980) From Ancient Chinese Jade exhibition label: Attribution is changed from Early Western Chou [Zhou] 周, late 11th--10th century BCE to Early Shang 商, ca. 15th century BCE.
7. (Elisabeth West Fitzhugh, 1980) Mineral is almost definitely nephrite, from its hardness (6.5) and appearance; exact identification only possible by X ray diffraction.
8. (Jeffrey Smith per Keith Wilson, July 29, 2008) Jewelry and Ornament added as secondary classification.
9. (Stephen Allee per Keith Wilson, August 31, 2009) As per Jenny F. So, Jade Project Database, changed Period One from "Shang 商 dynasty" to "Late Neolithic period"; changed Date from "15th century BCE" to "2400--2000 BCE"; added "Shijiahe 石家河 culture" as "Artist"; changed Title from "Ornament of reddish nephrite shading to grayish green" to "Ornament with human and stylized masks." Also changed Object Name from "Ornament" to "Jewelry." Identification of Medium confirmed as "jade (nephrite)" as per Wen Guang 聞廣 in June 1997, using infrared spectroscopy. Also confirmed dimensions as per Christine Lee, Jade Project Database (H x W x D: 7.23 x 3.20 x 0.52 cm). Added "Middle Yangzi 揚子 valley, Hubei 湖北 province" to "Geographical Location."
10. (Susan Kitsoulis per Keith Wilson, June 10, 2010) Title changed from "Ornament with human and stylized masks" to "Ornament with masks."
11. (Susan Kitsoulis per Keith Wilson, December 2, 2010) Title changed from "Ornament with masks" to "Ornament with face and masks"; date changed from "ca. 2400--2000 BCE" to "ca. 2000--1700 BCE."
12. (Rebecca Merritt, January 7, 2014) Transferred from Published References:
Deng Shuping 鄧淑蘋, "Tianming xuanniao, jianger shengshang: guyu huawen suo fanying de gudai xinyang 天命玄鳥, 降而生商: 古玉花紋所反映的古代信仰," Gugong wenwu yuekan 故宮文物月刊 = The National Palace Museum Monthly of Chinese Art 42 (1986), fig. 19; Deng Shuping 鄧淑蘋, "Gugong bajian jiucang yugui de zaisi 故宮八件舊藏玉圭的再思," Gugong xueshu jikan 故宮學術季刊 = National Palace Museum Research Quarterly 19, no. 2 (2001), fig. 59.
13. (Najiba Choudhury per Keith Wilson, August 16, 2016) Title changed from "Ornament with masks and face" to "Ornament (shi 飾) with face and masks"; date changed from "ca. 2000-1700 BCE" to "ca. 2500--2000 BCE".
Draft catalogue entry for F1939.54; by Jenny F. So (2003)
Late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, early 2nd millennium BCE
Middle Yangzi 揚子 or lower Yellow river valley
Nephrite, opaque even golden brown
The outline of this small plaque flares gently toward the flat top and bottom. Its slightly convex front is divided into three equal sections. Symmetrical configurations of two large scrolls--suggesting eyes--occupy the center, with smaller scrolls and hooks filling the remaining ground. Both configurations face the middle register occupied by the image of a human head. This human face is different from the others discussed in the foregoing entries. Its features are plainly human, although somewhat expressionless. It wears a twisted rope or fabric headband at the forehead, forcing the hair to rise up behind it in a low bank. Long tresses extend beyond the chin-line to end in neat upturned curls. Circular earrings hang from the ears at the sides. These three motifs are separately by low raised bands, which also define the top and bottom. Four sets of diminutive connected holes pierce the slightly thicker corners, presumably for fastening it to a backing without showing in front. The back is plain but smoothly finished. To date, it remains a unique specimen both in shape and in its unusual combination of motifs.
The workmanship of this small ornament is among the finest known. All motifs are executed in thin relief lines. The drilling of the four sets of holes on the back required precise control and near micro-sized drill points. The finish is smooth and lustrous, enhanced by discoloration due to prolonged handling.
This overtly human image belongs to a separate category from the more ornate and semi-human faces discussed in connection with S1987.880. A frontal image on the tablet F1915.87 and a profile version on one edge of the large knife F1918.1.1 in these collections might be considered a part of this second, more realistic category. Similarly realistic renditions of human images wearing long curled hair, circular earrings, and sometimes twisted headbands, seen en face or in profile, are found on a number of well-known jades in the Palace Museum in Beijing 北京, Cernuschi Museum in Paris, the Shanghai 上海 Museum, and the Hotung collection in London (fig. 1a-d). None has yet appeared among artifacts from contemporaneous excavated contexts.  On all these examples, the consistency of this image is striking. It implies a well-established iconography based on existing traditions that inform its particular characteristics. Exactly what these traditions are or what the human images mean,  and how they relate to the other traditions that spawned the semi-human images, are as yet unclear.
The symmetrical scroll designs on top and bottom closely resembles those incised on an adze recovered from late Neolithic contexts at Rizhao 日照, Shangdong 山東 province (fig. 2).  Except for this surface find, most other motifs of this type are only seen on unprovenanced specimens in Chinese and Western collections (see S1987.880, F1939.54).  In the case of these scrolled designs, as in semi-human image, the scant archaeological material is not enough to help us understand its origin or distribution. 
The uniqueness of this example, the lack of known archaeological parallels, its unusual combination of motifs, and the clear but perplexing links with the other, larger group of jade semi-human images represented by S1987.880 contribute to the mystery that continues to surround it.
Published: Alfred Salmony, Carved Jade of Ancient China (Berkeley, CA: Gillick Press, 1938), pl. XXXII: 6; Doris J. Dohrenwend, "Jade Demonic Images from Early China," Ars Orientalis 10 (1975), fig. 24; Wu Hung 巫鴻, "Yizu zaoqi de yushi diaoke 一組早期的玉石雕刻," Meishu yanjiui 美術研究 1979.1, fig. 2 (line drawing); Hayashi Minao 林巳奈夫, "Sen In shiki no gyokki bunka 先殷式の玉器文化 = Patterns on Pre Yin Jades," Museum 334 (1979), fig. 7; Jenny F. So, "A Hongshan 紅山 Jade Pendant in the Freer Gallery of Art," Orientations 24, no. 5 (1993), fig. 11.
1. a) --d) Drawings of four jade figures in Beijing 北京, Paris, Shanghai 上海, and Hotung collections.
2. Rizhao 日照 stone adze (rubbing after Liu Dunyuan 劉敦願, "Ji Liangcheng zhen yizhi faxian de liangjian shiqi 記兩城鎮遺址發現的兩件石器," Kaogu 考古 1972.4, p. 56, fig. 1).
 The pair of earrings showing two similar human heads in profile excavated from the early seventh century BCE tomb of the Huang Jun Meng 黃君孟 in Guangshan 光山, Xinyang 信陽, Henan 河南 province might be considered late copies of a long-extinct tradition (Jessica Rawson, Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing [London: British Museum Press, 1995], pp. 199--204).
 For one suggestion that this image is a personification of the god of fire, see Hayashi Minao 林巳奈夫, "Sekkaga bunka no gyokki o megutte 石家河文化の玉器をめぐって," Sen'oku Hakkokan kiyō 泉屋博古館紀要 16 (1999), p. 20.
 Liu Dunyuan 劉敦願, "Ji Liangcheng zhen yizhi faxian de liangjian shiqi 記兩城鎮遺址發現的兩件石器," Kaogu 考古 1972.4, pp. 56--57, figs. 1--2.
 See Hayashi Minao 林巳奈夫, "Sekkaga bunka no gyokki o megutte 石家河文化の玉器をめぐって," Sen'oku Hakkokan kiyō 泉屋博古館紀要 16 (1999), figs. 26 (Tianjin Museum), 32--34, 43 (Taipei National Place Museum, Shanghai Museum, Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm), etc.
 In an earlier article (Jenny F. So, "A Hongshan Jade Pendant in the Freer Gallery of Art," Orientations 24, no. 5 , 87--92), this author suggested possible connections between Shandong 山東 and Liaoning 遼寧 provinces in the northeast evident in the similarities between both the scrolled designs and that on the Hongshan 紅山 plaque (F1991.52), and the blankly staring human image with the mud image from the "Goddess Temple" site at Niuheliang 牛河梁. Since further archaeological data have not been available, this must remain conjectural.
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