1. (Thomas Lawton, 1987) Exhibition In Praise of Ancestors label text; moved to label field.
2. (Wangping Shao 邵望平, November 1, 1989) S1987.880, along with the related jades LTS1985.1.276.1--3, may be associated with the southern Liangzhu 良渚 cultural material remains. LTS1985.1.276.3 is the most typical of that culture's jade work tradition.
Though similar objects have been found in Shandong 山東 province, the main examples are from the Liangzhu 良渚 region. The Liangzhu 良渚 cultural phase may be said to be contemporary with and a part of the greater Longshan 龍山 culture.
Although the Liangzhu 良渚 cultural traditions seem to have lasted from about 3000 BCE down to 1000 BCE, Miss Shao feels that these four jades most likely date to the end of that tradition (during the latter part of the Shang 商 dynasty).
3. (Najiba Choudhury per Keith Wilson, August 16, 2016) Added constituent, "Shijiahe 石家河 culture", added geography, "Middle Yangzi valley, Hubei province". Changed period from "Shang dynasty" to "Late Neolithic period", changed date from "ca. Second millennium BCE" to "ca. 2500--2000 BCE", and changed title from "Ornament with mask" to "Ornament (shi 飾) with mask and headdress".
Draft catalogue entry for S1987.880; by Jenny F. So (2003)
Late Neolithic period, ca. 2400--2000 BCE
Shijiahe 石家河 culture, Middle Yangzi 揚子 valley
Nephrite, mottled pale gray-green with altered patches
Height 6.8 cm; width 3.6 cm; 1.3 cm thick
Former Abel William Bahr collection
The slightly convex front of this jade shows a face with a pronounced round nose in relief, slanting almond-shaped eyes, and curved fangs issuing from a set of teeth at the mouth. The flat top of the headdress ends in hooks and dips to a point at the forehead. Above it rises a high ornament with a forked tip and incised lines that suggest feathers. It meets the headdress through a section decorated with a finely incised, symmetrical scroll pattern (now virtually worn away) followed by subtle fluting executed in relief. Circular earrings flank the face. The details of this tall headdress appear--executed with greater finesse on finer material--on a virtually identical head in the Gellatly collection (LTS1985.1.276.1). Additional hooked projections issue above the earrings on both sides; those on the proper left of the face are damaged. Two small holes appear near the bottom; how they function in attachment is unclear. The surfaces are heavily scratched and much altered, and the polish is dull.
Jades like the Sackler's showing these semi-human images form a distinct group from early China that has fascinated Asian and Western scholars alike who published detailed studies and intriguing hypotheses on their meanings. Here, I prefer to point out specific features of the Sackler example that have been overlooked in previous discussions. Its material, heavily scratched and polished to a dull finish, closely resembles its excavated counterpart from Jingmen 荊門, Hubei 湖北 province, depicted without the tall ornamented headdress.  The single example from Shijiahe 石家河 provides the key evidence linking these images to the late Neolithic peoples of the middle Yangzi 揚子 valley. The designs on the headdress--the symmetrical scrolled motifs and fluting--associate it with a different group jades, mostly large blades, where they appear alongside an entirely different human image (see F1939.54). This link is not evident on other examples, adding new layers of complexities to an already difficult group of objects.
The archaeological context in which the Shijiahe 石家河 image was found also added interesting new implications to our knowledge of these images. All the Shijiahe 石家河 jades have so far come from burials of infants in large pottery urns instead of traditional graves.  Studies of the urn burials at Shijiahe 石家河 indicate that they were used for children or adults who died prematurely or unnaturally, so that it was suggested that the accompanying jades were meant to prevent early deaths and effect abundant procreation.  Urn burials were used not just at Shijiahe 石家河, but also extensively at Weichisi 尉遲寺 further downstream in Anhui 安徽 province.  No jades were included in the Weichisi 尉遲寺 urn burials, but the urns are marked by the sun-bird emblem seen on the Freer jade bracelet F1917.385. Exactly how the sun-bird motif and the semi-human images of the Shijiahe 石家河 jades relate in their respective burial contexts remains to be understood.
A noteworthy feature, common to many such images in jade, is their cross-sections. The Sackler image is gently curved; the image F1953.9 is worked from a triangular piece curved in the back, as are similar examples in the British Museum and Shanghai Museum.  There is no obvious reason to use jades with this cross-section for such faces. A more reasonable explanation might be that they were re-worked from fragments of larger jades, and in view of their distinctive section, perhaps cong 琮 bracelets. Excavated jades from Shijiahe 石家河 contexts are notably modest, even minute, in size, a reflection perhaps of poor mineral resources in the middle Yangzi 揚子 valley. Such conditions would train its people to recognize and value good material when it is available, and certainly use every last scrap if possible. It is important to note that as yet no cong 琮, the Liangzhu 良渚 signature par excellence, has been recovered from Shijiahe 石家河 contexts. Perhaps none was ever made; or none was taken upstream; or those that found their way there were cut up and used for other objects with local meaning. As yet, there is not enough information to properly assess the relationship between these two cultural spheres although scholars have seen such connections (see S1987.514). Available archaeological data from Shijiahe 石家河 indicate that the region was poor in mineral resources and made distinctive types of jades--human and semi-human images, eagles (S1987.930), felines heads (S1987.622), cicadas--in very modest quantities. Yet the modest finds from this region have acted as a powerful magnet for many of the stylistically related but unprovenanced jades in museum collections, raising intriguing questions but not necessarily answering them.
The generally more sculptural form of the above group of jade images, due in part to their unusual cross-sections, provides a reasonable explanation for the late dates of flat, plaque-like versions that have been recovered from Bronze Age contexts, such as the magnificent example from Xin'gan 新干 in Jiangxi 江西 province or from Fengxi 灃西 in Shaanxi 陝西 province.  If these images did develop from powerful three-dimensional images to flatly ornate ones, their occurrence in second millennium BCE contexts might indicate that the beliefs that inspired them had lost their spiritual meaning, so that when they show up in early first millennium BCE contexts, they seem out of place, like mere curiosities. 
Published: Doris J. Dohrenwend, "Jade Demonic Images from Early China," Ars Orientalis 10 (1975), fig. 35; Hayashi Minao 林巳奈夫, Chūgoku kogyoku no kenkyū 中國古玉の研究 (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kōbunkan, 1991), fig. 4:94; 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. 15 (line drawing); Zhang Changshou 張長壽, "Ji Fengxi xin faxian de shoumian yushi 記灃西新發現的獸面玉飾," Kaogu 考古 1987.5, fig. 3:6 (line drawing); Deng Shuping 鄧淑蘋, "Yizhen jijin 2: 'Ren' wen guyu 遺珍集錦2:'人'紋古玉," Gugong wenwu yuekan 故宮文物月刊 The National Palace Museum Monthly of Chinese Art 89 (1990), fig. 11a-b; 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), fig. 40.
 Archaeologists at the Jingmen 荊門 Museum in Hubei 湖北 kindly allowed me to study most of the excavated examples from Shijiahe 石家河 during a visit there in 1993, which resulted in my firsthand knowledge of their size, material, and workmanship.
 Ibid.; see also Yang Jianfang 楊建芳, Zhongguo guyu yanjiu lunwenji 中國古玉研究論文集 = Treatises on ancient Chinese jades, vol. 1 (Taipei: Zhongzhi meishu chubanshe, 1995), pp. 53--67, for superior illustrations of these jades.
 Discussed in detail in Wu Guibing 吳桂兵, "Shijiahe wenhua yuqi de quyu gongneng yu pubian yingxiang 石家河玉器的區域功能與普遍影響," Zhongyuan wenwu 中原文物 2002.5, pp. 30--36.
 Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan kaogu yanjiusuo 中國社會科學院考古研究所, Mengcheng Weichisi: Wanbei xinshiqi shidai juluo yicun de fajue yu yanjiu 蒙城尉遲寺：皖北新石器時代聚落遺存的發掘與研究 (Beijing: Kexue chubanshe, 2001), pp. 222--29, 342.
 See drawings in 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. 15, 16, 36, 49, and 52.
 Zhang Changshou 張長壽 in "Ji Fengxi xin faxian de shoumian yushi 記灃西新發現的獸面玉飾," Kaogu 考古 1987.5, pp. 470--73 argues for a late second millennium BCE date; Hayashi Minao 林巳奈夫 in "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), pp. 1-31, prefers an early second millennium BCE date.
 For example, the Shijiahe 石家河 style jade head recovered from the early seventh century BCE tomb at Guangshan 光山, Xinyang 信陽, Henan 河南 province (illustrated in 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), fig. 52).
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