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Liangzhu - Late Neolithic Jades at Throckmorton Fine Art
February 23, 2012  | 
From March 8 - April 14, 2012, Throckmorton Fine Art is pleased to offer an exhibit of exquisite, if enigmatic, jade carvings from the dawn of Chinese civilization. These small, portable works of sculpture are from one prominent culture, Liangzhu, which was centered in southeast, coastal China during the late Neolithic era, from around 3300 to 2200 BCE.

Jade carvings from this culture fall into three categories: ornaments, to adorn both the body and clothes, weapons, especially axes, and ritual instruments, most notably cylinders called cong (ts’ung) and perforated disks called bi (pi). The sculptures are works of art: they were laboriously and finely carved, surely imbued with considerable meaning, and from being buried—in tombs—for centuries they have acquired a lovely patina. The surface of jade alters with time, especially when buried. Many of the jade carvings exhibited, in fact, have turned a luminous white, from “oxidization.” The carvings were meant to be held and they remain inviting—they all but ask to be handled.

These jade carvings were the beginning of formal iconography in this culturally fertile region. Though the carvings are highly stylized, they embody—or represent—the emergence of a complex but organized belief system and, surely, the beginnings of social hierarchy in the all-important southern coastal area of China. These belief systems remain mysterious, impenetrable. These small sculptures are mystical and puzzling. They endure, though: they are timeless, witnesses to the beginnings of a great civilization. At the same time, however, their almost abstract form gives them a distinct air of modernity.

The exhibit is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with contributions by the noted scholars, Dr. Elizabeth Childs-Johnson and Gu Fang. They establish a context for viewing these remarkable and rare works of art.

For more information:
Throckmorton Fine Art
145 East 57th St. 3rd fl, New York, NY 10022
Tel. 212.223.1059