1. Bought from Lee Van Ching [Li Wenqing] 李文卿 of Shanghai 上海, in New York. For price, see Original Miscellaneous List, p. 263. $800
2. (Undated Folder Sheet note) Original attribution: Chinese. Chou [Zhou] 周. See further, S.I. 1152, Appendix VIII.
3. (John Ellerton Lodge, 1941) Chou [Zhou] 周.
4. (Undated Folder Sheet note) Exhibited: 1917 Chicago, Illinois. The Art Institute, No. 96.
5. (Julia K. Murray, 1982) The band-and-circle decor appears in three registers on this very large ts'ung [cong] 琮. This design seems to be a simplification of a type of mask found on a few artifacts from the Liang-chu [Liangzhu] 良渚 culture of the East Coast Neolithic (see Folder Sheets F1916.118, F1919.47, F1916.410). The eyes of the mask have here been reduced to single, lightly incised small circles, and some of the band patterns seem to lack their circles altogether. None of the excavated ts'ung [cong] 琮 is as massive as F1917.65, but otherwise it seems consistent with the late Neolithic type.
Attribution is changed from Western Chou [Zhou] 周 to Neolithic, ca. 2000 BCE.
6. (Stephen Allee per Keith Wilson, February 8, 2008) On this date entered: Period One (Late Neolithic period), Date (3300--2250 BCE), Artist (Liangzhu 良渚 culture), Title, Object name, Geographical region (Lake Tai 太湖 region); plus Dimensions per Christine Lee, from Jade Project Database.
7. (Jeffrey Smith per Keith Wilson, July 17, 2008) Ceremonial Objects added as secondary classification.
8. (Stephen Allee, March 23, 2009) Added designation "nephrite" to Medium as per Janet Douglas using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (January 8, 2009).
9. (Susan Kitsoulis per Keith Wilson, April 20, 2010) Title changed from "Short tube (cong 琮)" to "Tube (cong 琮) with masks."
Draft catalogue entry for F1917.65a-d; by Jenny F. So (2003)
Cong 琮 ritual instrument
Late Neolithic period, 3000--2500 BCE
Liangzhu 良渚 culture, Lake Tai 太湖 region
Nephrite, coarse mottled yellow, tan, gray, and brown material, greatly worn
Height 10.42 cm; dimensions at top 13.88 × 13.93 cm; at bottom 13.12 × 13.13 cm; diameter of opening 5.85--6.23 cm
Purchased from Lee Van Ching [Li Wenqing] 李文卿, Shanghai 上海, in New York
This example is unusually large, massive, and heavy. The collar stands relatively low above the corners. An identical human face motif occupies each of the three tiers, all very crudely incised, with only a single circle for eyes, some no longer visible (or perhaps never executed?) The coarse and variegated texture of the material might in part be responsible for the simple designs and crude execution, since the rock's coarse texture impedes proper execution of fine designs.
There is a near-identical, massive example in the Sonnenschein collection at the Art Institute of Chicago (Fig. 1), also made from a comparably coarse and eroded material, with similarly crude workmanship. The exterior of the Sonnenschein cong 琮 has discolored to amber and tan (much like the Freer's), but the surface visible inside the opening shows a near pristine unaltered green. It is possible that its fresh surface inside the opening is due to its subsequent enlargement. The opening on the Freer cong 琮 is much smaller, and does not display any color difference.
An interesting feature of this cong 琮 is its odd-numbered tiers. From a practical point of view, even-numbered sections would be easier to obtain along a given length through repeated divisions into halves (see S1987.887). Odd numbered sections require prior layout of all sections, perhaps with some sort of measuring device that allows relatively even division among the sections. It was these mathematically more demanding, odd-numbered tiers that seem to have been made most often (see F1917.95, S1987.468) and into the most impressive tallest examples (F1916.410). Like the choice of human and animal faces, there must have been compelling religious or spiritual reasons behind this practice that is lost to us today.
Few cong 琮 are this massive and large. Their size precludes their function as bracelets. Only a small handful of cong 琮 of comparable size have been recovered from excavated contexts. One from M12 at Fanshan 反山 can be taken to represent the epitome of the best and most complex of Liangzhu 良渚 products (Fig. 2). It is the largest known, at about 17.1--17.6 centimeters wide with an unusually small opening at a mere 4.9 centimeters. A second example is slightly smaller than the Freer cong 琮. Both Yaoshan 瑤山 examples were made from the same fine-grained, opaque, milky-white material and exquisitely worked to show two superposed tiers of a human image with feathered headdress and arms hugging an animal image with clawed limbs. The larger cong 琮 has additional birds at the corners and the same man-animal combinations on the median axes on each side, altogether presenting by far the most elaborate décor scheme known on any Liangzhu 良渚 jade. However, more closely related to the current example in its coarse material, workmanship, and human face design is a large cong 琮 from Sidun 寺墩, Jiangsu 江蘇 province. It is possible that the Freer example came from a similar geographical and chronological context like that at Sidun 寺墩.
Published: Laurence C. S. Sickman, ed., The University Prints: Oriental Art, Series O, Section II, Early Chinese Art (Newton, MA: Harvard University, 1938), p. 107 upper right; Chang Wen-chi [Zhang Wenji] 張文驥, Chung-kuo yu-ch'i li-tai shih [Zhongguo yuqi lidai shi] 中國玉器歷代史 (Hong Kong: Yimei tushu gongsi, 1978), p. 87.
Fig. 1. A cong 琮 in the Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago (1926.2029) shows a difference in color between the outer walls and the drilled core. http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/33098?search_no=1&index=0
Fig. 2. Fanshan 反山 M12 cong 琮 (Zhejiang sheng wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo 浙江省文物考古研究所, Shanghai shi wenwu guanli weiyuanhui 上海市文物管理委员会, and Nanjing bowuyuan 南京博物院, Liangzhu wenhua yuqi 良渚文化玉器 [Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, and Hong Kong: Liangmu chubanshe, 1989], nos. 6--9).
 A clearly archaistic cong 琮 in the Beijing 北京 Palace Museum displays a similar difference in color and discoloration as the Sonnenschein example (Zhou Nanquan 周南泉, Yuqi 玉器, vol. 1 [Beijing: Shenghuo dushu xinzhi sanlian shudian, and Hong Kong: Shangwu yinshuguan, 1996], p. 30).
 See also an example in Zhejiang sheng wenwu kaogu yanjiusuo 浙江省文物考古研究所, Shanghai shi wenwu guanli weiyuanhui 上海市文物管理委员会, and Nanjing bowuyuan 南京博物院, Liangzhu wenhua yuqi 良渚文化玉器 (Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, and Hong Kong: Liangmu chubanshe, 1989), nos. 49, 51, 58.
 There are also tall examples with even-numbered tiers (ibid., nos. 46, 48). An interesting example is a seven-tiered cong 琮 that appears to have been made into two three-tiered versions, that when put back one on top of the other, form one six-tiered cong 琮 (Liangzhu wenhua bowuguan 良渚文化博物館. Dongfang wenming zhi guang: Liangzhu wenhua yuqi 東方文明之光：良渚文化玉器 = The Dawn of Chinese Civilization: Jades of the Liangzhu Culture [Yuhang shi: Liangzhu wenhua bowuguan, Xianggang: Xianggang zhongwen daxue wenwuguan, 1998], cats. 13--14; Huang Xuanpei 黃宣佩, Fuquanshan: Xinshiqi shidai yizhi fajue baogao 福泉山：新石器时代遗址发掘报告 [Beijing: Wenwu chubanshe, 2000], color pl. 16).
 It measures 12.5 × 12.5 cm at top; see Liangzhu wenhua bowuguan 良渚文化博物館. Dongfang wenming zhi guang: Liangzhu wenhua yuqi 東方文明之光：良渚文化玉器 = The Dawn of Chinese Civilization: Jades of the Liangzhu Culture (Yuhang shi: Liangzhu wenhua bowuguan, Xianggang: Xianggang zhongwen daxue wenwuguan, 1998), cat. 1.
 Zhang Minghua 張明華, "Liangzhu guyu zonglun 良渚古玉綜論," Dongnan wenhua 東南文化 1992.2, fig. 12. From Sidun 寺墩 M3:5, it is about 13.6 × 13.7 cm at top, and made from a coarse gray-green material (see also Nanjing bowuyuan 南京博物院, "1982 nian Jiangsu Changzhou Wujin Sidun yizhi de fajue 1982年江蘇常州武進寺墩遺址的發掘," K'ao-ku [Kaogu] 考古 1984.2, pp. 126--28, table 2).
 Zhang Minghua 張明華, "Liangzhu guyu zonglun 良渚古玉綜論," Dongnan wenhua 東南文化 1992.2, pp. 112--19, sees a clear distinction in the material used in different parts of the Liangzhu 良渚 sphere. He associates the opaque and coarse variegated tan and brown material with the Sidun 寺墩 region in southern Jiangsu 江蘇 (north of Lake Tai 太湖); the opaque "chicken-bone" white material with the Yuhang 餘杭 in northern Zhejiang 浙江 (south of Lake Tai 太湖); and the translucent green material with the Shanghai 上海 vicinity.