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Creator Nationality: Chinese
Creator Dates/Places: China
Creator Active Place: China
Creator Name-CRT: China, Henan Province, State of Han (?), Eastern Zhou Dynasty, Middle Warring States Period
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: -40
Creation End Date: -30
Creation Date: c. 400-300 BC
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Jade
Materials and Techniques: jade (nephrite)
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1991.78.1
ID Number: 1991.78.2
Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund and the John L. Severance Fund
Context: When Quanrong tribesmen swept into the Chinese capital in 771 BC, they not only forced the Zhou royal family and its nobles to flee eastward to reestablish themselves near the modern city of Luoyang, but also precipitated a slow, steady decline in central authority throughout northern China. Soon, the rulers of a number of vassal states rose to challenge one another--and eventually the royal house itself--for superiority. Competition was not restricted to the battlefield, however, as various courts viedwith one another for the visible trappings of power, orthodoxy, and wealth. The energy and interests of the new patrons are readily apparent in the arts. Jade craftsmanship in particular, after languishing for centuries, enjoyed new attention, yielding anattractive variety of exquisite, richly ornamented forms. The museum's beautiful pair of late Eastern Zhou openwork jade plaques illustrate a level of creativity and technical achievement that was unequaled before or since. Taking the shape of a pair offantastic creatures, they are at once tiger-like, rhino-like, and dragon-like. Their strong silhouettes are marked with shallow relief bands, and their subtly swelling embellished surfaces are finished to the same degree on both sides. Only two other pairsof jades approach the drama and quality of this pair recently acquired by the museum. Both were unearthed earlier in this century and are said to came from an ancient cemetery believed to contain the tombs of the rulers of the wealthy vassal state of Hannear the Eastern Zhou capital at Luoyang. The three pairs are sufficiently similar in style and quality to suggest that all were made at roughly the same time and place, presumably workshops sponsored by the Han feudal court during the fourth century BC. The function of these beautiful objects was recently clarified with the excavation of the tomb of Zhao Mo, a ruler of the southern kingdom of Nanyue (203-111 BC), who died around the year 122 BC. The king, buried in a shroud constructed from small piecesof jade, wore a complex pectoral on his chest. Composed of some thirty-two separate items of jade, gold, amber, and glass, the burial necklace included a jade plaque quite like the Cleveland pair. While substantially smaller and less elaborate, this object suggests that the museum's jades may also have been part of the sumptuous trappings of rank. K.W.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1991.78.1-2
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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