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Plaque ornament (le)
Place of Origin: China
Historical Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Object Name: Jewelry
Materials: Nephrite
Dimensions: H. 7/8 in x W. 1 1/2 in x D. 5/16 in, H. 2.22 cm x W. 3.81 cm x D. .8 cm Diameter of hole 1/8 in
Credit Line: Gift from Ed Nagel
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Jade And Stones
Object Number: B73J3
On Display: No

Description

Label:

Made of light-green hetian jade with gray flaws and brown areas on the surface, this plaque ornament is a rectangular bead with a hole drilled vertically from the top edge to the bottom. Each face bears C-shaped designs in shallow relief. Both side edges are cut by three C-shaped indents.

The term le in the first dictionary, Shuowen Jieji, was classified to the secondary stone to jade. The two tubular beads with central holes illustrated in Wu Dazheng's 1889 catalogue of jade were annotated as round le, serving as pommels on the handles of whips (Teng 1992a , 146). Na Zhiliang (1982, 211, no. 1478) thought that jade le were adaptations of a type of bone ornament. Different forms—straight cylindrical beads, tubular beads with two flaring ends, or plaques with tapering ends (an oblate shape) and a central hole—are all identified as le in modern archaeology. The earliest was the cylindrical form, which has been commonly found in Neolithic sites. Tubular beads with flaring ends have come from Shang and Zhou sites, emerging from archaeological excavations of Eastern Zhou tombs (Zgyqqj 1993, vol. 3, plates 105–7). The type shown here, with a rectangular front view and an oblate profile, was usually decorated with shallow relief on front and back faces and indents on side edges. The hole identifies it as an ornament that was fastened to something else.

This piece is a Qing reproduction of an Eastern Zhou style. Under a microscope, the surface clearly reveals artificially created spots filled with residue. The rough inner walls of these penetrations suggest manual tool work. The composition is rather loose, and the C forms are soft compared to Eastern Zhou designs.


Label:

Made of light-green hetian jade with gray flaws and brown areas on the surface, this plaque ornament is a rectangular bead with a hole drilled vertically from the top edge to the bottom. Each face bears C-shaped designs in shallow relief. Both side edges are cut by three C-shaped indents.

The term le in the first dictionary, Shuowen Jieji, was classified to the secondary stone to jade. The two tubular beads with central holes illustrated in Wu Dazheng's 1889 catalogue of jade were annotated as round le, serving as pommels on the handles of whips (Teng 1992a , 146). Na Zhiliang (1982, 211, no. 1478) thought that jade le were adaptations of a type of bone ornament. Different forms—straight cylindrical beads, tubular beads with two flaring ends, or plaques with tapering ends (an oblate shape) and a central hole—are all identified as le in modern archaeology. The earliest was the cylindrical form, which has been commonly found in Neolithic sites. Tubular beads with flaring ends have come from Shang and Zhou sites, emerging from archaeological excavations of Eastern Zhou tombs (Zgyqqj 1993, vol. 3, plates 105–7). The type shown here, with a rectangular front view and an oblate profile, was usually decorated with shallow relief on front and back faces and indents on side edges. The hole identifies it as an ornament that was fastened to something else.

This piece is a Qing reproduction of an Eastern Zhou style. Under a microscope, the surface clearly reveals artificially created spots filled with residue. The rough inner walls of these penetrations suggest manual tool work. The composition is rather loose, and the C forms are soft compared to Eastern Zhou designs.