Eastern Zhou Jade Belt Ornament

Eastern Zhou Jade Belt Ornament

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J.J. Lally & Co., Oriental Art / New York City, New York

Late Eastern Zhou – Han Dynasty, circa 4th-3rd Century B.C.

a tan jade scabbard slide decorated in fine incised lines with a stylized bird motif on the gently arched top between twin raised bands and incised with a taotie mask on the flange at one side, the rectangular loop below with repeating scroll pattern on the edges together with a smaller scabbard slide carved in relief with a dense pattern of linked comma spiral motifs using a reddish brown layer of the stone, with a rectangular loop below and a narrow &lsquoD&rsquo shape ornament with a plain rounded top over a wide open squared loop, polished to a high gloss.

Widths 2 1 &frasl16 inches (5.3 cm) 1 15 &frasl16 inches (4.9 cm) 1 3 &frasl8 inches (3.5 cm)


Late Eastern Zhou – Han Dynasty, circa 4th-3rd Century B.C.

Widths 2 1 &frasl16 inches (5.3 cm) 1 15 &frasl16 inches (4.9 cm) 1 3 &frasl8 inches (3.5 cm)

Zhou Dynasty

The Zhou people came from northwest China, and overthrew the Shang dynasty around 1050 BC. They maintained control by bestowing land and local power on those who were loyal to their rule, and by preserving aspects of Shang civilization. The style of Zhou bronzes differed from Shang in the use of heavier forms and bolder decoration.

In addition to ritual vessels, bronze was used for trappings and ornaments for horses, which the Zhou traded on their northern frontiers.

In 771 BC the Zhou territories divided into several independent states. Over the following centuries religious belief diversified, and the philosophies of Confucius and Laozi developed. Regional styles in manufactured goods became more evident and burial goods included painted lacquers and elaborate silks. Bronzes with gold and silver inlays show influences from beyond the Zhou frontiers.

Western Zhou

Horse jingle (EA1956.844) Linch pin from a chariot (EA1956.883) Chariot linch pin in the form of a rhinoceros head (EA1956.884) Bronze chariot fitting (EA1956.1444) Bronze chariot fitting (EA1956.1460) Bronze horse trapping (EA1956.1517) Ritual food vessel, or gui, with coiled figures and taotie masks (EA1956.830) Ritual food vessel, or ding, with taotie mask pattern (LI1301.6) Ritual food vessel, or fang ding (EA1956.834)

Eastern Zhou

Belt plaque with tiger and dog in combat (EA1967.126) Mirror with nine directional points and T-shaped designs (EA1956.1562) Mirror with nine directional points and T-shaped designs (EA1956.1558) Ritual food vessel, or ding, with abstract and animal designs, and lid (EA1956.871) Ritual food vessel, or ding, with hunting scenes (EA1956.887) Lid fitting with openwork design of intertwined serpents (EAX.1842) Ritual food vessel, or dou (EA1956.898) Greenware ritual food vessel, or ding (EA1956.930)

Objects may have since been removed or replaced from a gallery. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

Hanfu - History and Facts about Hanfu

Hanfu (meaning clothing of the Han people) is a name for pre-17th century traditional clothing of the Han Chinese, which are the predominant ethnic group of China. Hanfu appeared in China more than three thousand years ago and is said that it was clothing of the legendary Yellow Emperor, a great sage king of ancient China. The basic of Hanfu was developed in time of Shang Dynasty, from 1600BC to 1000BC. Hanfu consisted of a yi, a narrow-cuffed, knee-length tunic tied with a sash, and a narrow, ankle-length skirt, called chang, worn with a bixi, a length of fabric that reached the knees. They were made of silk and painted in red and green. From the first appearing Han-Chinese clothing had changed and evolved with the fashion.

With the beginning of Western Zhou Dynasty hanfu begins to be method of distinction between classes. Height of one’s rank influenced the level of decoration of a dress, length of a skirt and the wideness of a sleeve. Sleeves were also made wider than in the time of the Shang Dynasty and yi tunic is also closed with jade decorations or with a sash tied around the waist. The collar were crossed and tied to the right while skirts and trousers varied in length from knee-length to ground-length.

Eastern Zhou Dynasty invented shenyi - "the deep robe", which is a combination of tunic and skirt. It was cut separately but sewn as a piece of clothing with left side of the costume shaped into a corner which was used for closing the shenyi by fastening on the chest. Shenyi could be worn by anybody regardless of gender, profession or social class. Technology was advanced enough at the time that many complicated and magnificent patterns appeared on Hanfu.

A complete Hanfu garment developed in time with addition of other parts of clothing. Now, it is considered that it consists of several pieces of clothing: Yi - which is any open cross-collar garment and is worn by both men and women Pao - any closed full-body garment, it is worn only by men Ru- open shirt with cross-collar Shan - open cross-collar shirt or jacket which is worn over the yi Qun or chang -a type of skirt which is worn by both women and men and Ku - a type of trousers or pants. It is also considered traditional to decorate hanfu with tassels and jade pendants or various ornaments hung from the belt or sash, which are known as pei. Hats for men and hairpieces for women could also be traditionally worn in combination with Hanfu. This headwear also marked profession or social rank.

Hanfu disappeared at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) which was founded, not by Han Chinese who form the majority of the population of China, but by the Manchus, a semi-nomadic people which first rose to prominence in Manchuria. Qing Dynasty fell in 1911 and Manchu dress disappeared quickly in favor of western-style dress. Most of the Han Chinese wear western-style clothing today and hanfu is worn rarely. The hanfu is now worn during some festivals, ritualistic ceremonies (such are coming of age or rite of passage), by historical re-enactors and by monks and priests.

Famous Traditional Chinese Clothes Types


Hanfu, the traditional clothing of the Han nationality,“Began the Yellow Emperor, prepare for Yao and Shun”, came from the Yellow Emperor system Mianfu and was fixed in the Zhou dynasty. In different periods of history, Hanfu has some changes, but overlapped and rightward collars are invariable. A whole set of Hanfu usually consists of three layers: a small coat (underwear), a middle coat(inner garment), and a overcoat. Until the Han Dynasty, the Hanfu was adopted and promoted by the ruling class. The Mianfu of Topcoat-plus-Skirt style(separate tops and lower garment) is the official dress of the emperors and officials. Shenyi (Gown) is the casual clothing of the officials and scholars, and Served Ru skirt is worn by women. The labouring class generally wears short clothing in imperfect condition.

2.Tang Suit

The name “Tangzhuang” was originally created by overseas Chinese people due to the prosperous of the Tang Dynasty. Chinese people are also called “Tang People” by foreigners. In fact, Tang suit (or Tangzhuang) has two varieties in Chinese culture. One is a kind of Chinese clothing, evolves from the Hanfu, featured with overlapped and rightward collars and tied with a sash. The representatives are Qixiongruqun(waistband above the chest), Tangyuanlingpao(round collar), Jiaolingruqun(collar in the shape of letter Y). The other one is a kind of pseudo-traditional Chinese jacket with a straight collar. This kind of Tang suit has four characteristics: mandarin collar with symmetrical front opening one piece of sleeves and clothes, with buttons down the front and right angle button.

3. Cheongsam

Cheongsam or Qipao in Chinese, the traditional dress of Chinese women in the world, is honored as the quintessence of Chinese national culture and the national dress of Chinese female. After 1920s, it became the most popular clothing of women, which was determined by the government of the republic of China as one of the national dresses in 1929. After 1980s, as the traditional culture being revalued and with the effects of film and TV culture, fashion show and beauty contest, cheongsam was gradually prevalent in the mainland, and all over the world. Cheongsams are close fitting, and draw the outline of the wearer’s body. The classical cheongsams mostly used straight lines, loose body piece and with split ends on both sides. The chest circumference and waistline is closer to the size of the dress. Modern cheongsam is designed more close fitting and accompanied with sleeves in western style. Its length of the body part and sleeves are greatly shortened. The design of Cheongsam got various inventions like ruffled collar, bell-like sleeves and black lace frothing.

4. Chinese Tunic Suit

Chinese tunic suit, also called Mao suit or Zhongshan suit, named after the Chinese revolutionary pioneer Dr. Sun Yat-sen, was designed on the basis of Japanese student costumes. It has a turn-down collar and four pockets with flaps. Mao Suit was named because the famous political figure Mao Zedong often worn it. It was once one of the most popular standard clothes for Chinese men. After the 1980s, with the deepening of reform and opening up, western-style suit and other fashions gradually became popular. It is worth mentioning that Chinese leaders are still used to wearing Chinese tunic suit when attending major domestic events.

5. Clothing of the Ethnic Minorities

Ethnic minorities wear their national costume in the daily life and the occasion of festival etiquette. China’s 55 ethnic minorities clothing, due to the difference of geographical environment, climate, customs and habits, economic, cultural, forms different styles, colors, and with distinctive national features. Generally there are two types: long gown and short coat. People in gown wear hats and boots, and the people in short coats wear headcloth and shoes. Some techniques of Chinese ethnic minorities such as embroidery and batik are much developed, and are widely used in making clothing adornments. This is another feature of their costumes.

Traditional Chinese Clothes — Hanfu, Tang Suit, Qipao, Zhongshan Suit

Traditional Chinese Clothes Traditional Chinese clothes were an evolution of their long, loose, straight-cut jackets and pants or gowns. Chinese clothing has a long history, which leaves a precious.

Zhou Dynasty Art (1050-221 BCE) History, Types and Characteristics

Note: For the effect of Zhou culture on Korea, see: Korean Art. For more about the historical context and background to Zhou Dynasty culture, see: Chinese Art Timeline (18,000 BCE - present).

An important contributor to Chinese art, the Shaanxi-based Zhou Dynasty coexisted with the previous Shang Dynasty for many years before achieving power for itself sometime in the 11th century BCE. Although the Zhou Dynasty endured for longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, its ruling Ji family only retained control until 771 BCE, a period known as the Xi (Western) Zhou. This was followed by the Dong (Eastern) Zhou (c.771𤯋 BCE), traditionally divided into the Spring and Autumn (Chunqiu) period (771𤯋), when the country fragmented into a number of small turbulent territories, and the Warring States (Zhanguo) period (475𤫍 bc) when these small territories merged into seven larger entities, which then contended with one another for domination. The initial Zhou capital was situated near Xian on the Wei River above its confluence with the Yellow River (Huang He), but a second capital was built at Luoyang in the east. The Shang and Zhou eras traditionally comprise the Bronze Age of China, when bronze was used to make weapons, as well as ritual vessels, and played a significant role in the material culture of the time. During this era of Bronze Age art, the Zhou Dynasty maintained much of the ancient art of China - including the bronze casting of ceremonial vessels, and jade carving - and encouraged the growth of new visual arts like goldsmithing and lacquerware, as well as calligraphy and its cousin Chinese painting, nearly all of which has since been lost. Other cultural developments included the introduction of chopsticks, ox-drawn ploughs, large-scale irrigation projects and a program of new roads and waterways. In addition, Chinese writing evolved into its modern form. Later, during the Eastern Zhou dynasty, iron appeared, as did the philosophical movements of Confucianism, Daoism and Legalism. Note: For the key principles underlying art in ancient China, see: Traditional Chinese Art: Characteristics.

Under the Western Zhou (Xi), the quality of bronze casting - which had reached a peak of excellence during the era of Shang Dynasty art - declined, before experiencing a renaissance during the Eastern Zhou (Dongzhou) period. Nonetheless, bronze metallurgy played an important part in the sacred ceremonies of the day.

As before, most bronze vessels were cast for use in temple sacrifices, while some were made as funerary objects for the tomb. (Zhou bronzeworkers also produced a large quantity of weaponry, chariot-fittings, equestrian items, and other utilitarian objects.) The bronze containers used in sacrificial rites varied according to function: vessels used for cooking food, included the "li" (a round vessel with a base supported by 3 legs) the "ding" (a hemispheric-shaped container on 3 legs) the "fangding" (square with four legs) and the "xian" or "yan" (a steamer/tripod). When offering food, the principal vessel was the "gui", a sort of modern-day wok. Bronze wine containers were known collectively by the name "zun". Individual types, as named by later Chinese antiquarians, included the "jue", which was a small 3-legged beaker with a pouring spout in front as well as a side handle, and the "he", with a cylindrical pouring spout the "gong", which looked like a covered gravy boat and the trumpet-mouthed "gu".

NOTE: Ceremonial vessels were also made out of fired-clay. Indeed, Chinese pottery remained the world's finest type of ancient pottery for centuries.

The Zhou introduced new decorative motifs, including magnificent long-tailed birds and large angular flanges. In addition, the Zhou greatly expanded the Late Shang practice of adding inscriptions to their ritualistic bronze vessels, indicating the patron, and the ancestor to whom the vessel was dedicated. Up to 400 characters might be used in a single inscription.

Other bronze objects associated with sacrificial rites included bells, of which the oldest type is a small clappered bell called a "ling", but the most famous is the "zhong", a suspended, clapperless type of bell, usually made in sets of eight or more, thus forming a musical scale. The oldest surviving "zhong" was unearthed at Pudu Cun, dating to around 850 BCE.

The bronzes of the Eastern Zhou reveal a noticable upturn in quality and complexity. Often decorated with unusual handles in the form of animal heads, their more elegant forms were frequently adorned with scrolls, spirals, interlaced serpents and other continuous patterns often encircling the whole vessel. Lids and mouths might be embellished with dragons, tigers and other zoomorphic shapes. During the 7th century, the casting process was enhanced by the introduction of the lost wax method of production (cire perdue). From hereon, Zhou bronzes became as increasingly refined as the aesthetics upon which they were based. Excavations at Jincun near Luoyang, for instance, have uncovered bronzes of great elegance and classical restraint, which were not merely functional but beautiful in themselves.

Bronze mirrors - found as early as the 8th century BCE in a tomb at Shangcunling in Henan, but especially popular during the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE - were used in not only for toiletry but also as funerary items, in line with the ancient Chinese belief that a mirror was a source of light and could therefore illuminate the darkness of the tomb. Mostly produced at Shouzhou, their decorative designs included quatrefoil petals, zigzag lozenges, scallops, and occasionally animal (dragon and zoomorph) shapes superimposed on a continuous pattern of hooks and spirals. See also: Celtic designs.

In time, ornamentation of bronze objects became increasingly sophisticated and involved inlays of gold, silver, glass, jade, and semiprecious gems, as well as other techniques of goldsmithery.

The visual art of the Zhou era reflected the diverse mixture of its component states. The arts of the Western Zhou Dynasty were mainly a continuation of Shang art which had flourished during the years 1700 to 1050 BCE , such as bronze metallurgy and bronze sculpture. In addition, a large quantity of Jade ornaments and objects continued to be made for both ritual ceremonies and ornamental purposes. Ceramic art also continued to flourish, and was further extended and refined during the Warring States period and the era of Han Dynasty Art (206 BCE - 220 CE). As the urban and commercial infrastructure improved, architecture became more important, although most Zhou-style buildings have long since disappeared. It was also during the Zhou era that Nail Art first appeared in China.

The same applies to painting, as - apart from a few works on silk - few pictures have survived from the Zhou era. We are left only with written descriptions of works, which featured principally figure painting and portrait art, as well as some historical scenes. Even so, the Warring States Period (475-221 BCE) was an important watershed in Chinese art, since it was the first time that Chinese painters began to represent the world around them. Pottery painting and mural painting on tomb walls were two common types of painting, while primitive ink and wash painting was performed on silk.

The closely related art of Chinese writing - known as calligraphy - had first appeared during the Shang era and now blossomed in the Zhou regime, during which its main forms were the jiaguwen (chia-ku-wen) bone-and-shell script, and the jinwen (chin-wen) bronze script. These scripts, named after the materials upon which they were inscribed, remained in fashion until the beginning of Qin Dynasty art in the 3rd century BCE.

Chinese lacquerware (including gold and silver inlays) was also fully developed during the Zhou Dynasty. Lacquer - a very toxic substance that was extracted from the resin or sap of the indigenous species Toxicodendron vernicifluum, commonly known as the Lacquer Tree - was a natural durable coating originally intended as a form of waterproof protection for wood and bamboo, but the process rapidly became a much-prized method of decorating fine objects. The resin was applied in a series of thin layers to produce a glossy finish, and was often mixed with oxides of iron to produced a deep black or a deep rich red, or gold or silver powders for an especially luxurious finish. The work was hazardous, and extremely time-consuming, sometimes costing ten times as much as bronze casting.

Chinese jade: an introduction

The English term “jade” is used to translate the Chinese word yu, which in fact refers to a number of minerals including nephrite, jadeite, serpentine and bowenite, while jade refers only to nephrite and jadeite.

Chemically, nephrite is a calcium magnesium silicate and is white in color. However, the presence of copper, chromium and iron produces colors ranging from subtle grey-greens to brilliant yellows and reds. Jadeite, which was very rarely used in China before the eighteenth century, is a silicate of sodium and magnesium and comes in a wider variety of colors than nephrite.

Nephrite is found in metamorphic rocks in mountains. As the rocks weather, the boulders of nephrite break off and are washed down to the foot of the mountain, from where they are retrieved. From the Han period (206 B.C.E. – 220 C.E.) jade was obtained from the oasis region of Khotan on the Silk Route. The oasis lies about 5000 miles from the areas where jade was first worked in the Hongshan (in Inner Mongolia) and the Liangzhu cultures (near Shanghai) about 3000 years before. It is likely that sources much nearer to those centers were known about in early periods and were subsequently exhausted.

Worn by kings and nobles in life and death

“Soft, smooth and glossy, it appeared to them like benevolence fine, compact and strong – like intelligence” —attributed to Confucius (about 551-479 B.C.E.)

Jade has always been the material most highly prized by the Chinese, above silver and gold. From ancient times, this extremely tough translucent stone has been worked into ornaments, ceremonial weapons and ritual objects. Recent archaeological finds in many parts of China have revealed not only the antiquity of the skill of jade carving, but also the extraordinary levels of development it achieved at a very early date.

Jade was worn by kings and nobles and after death placed with them in the tomb. As a result, the material became associated with royalty and high status. It also came to be regarded as powerful in death, protecting the body from decay. In later times these magical properties were perhaps less explicitly recognized, jade being valued more for its use in exquisite ornaments and vessels, and for its links with antiquity. In the Ming and Qing periods ancient jade shapes and decorative patterns were often copied, thereby bringing the associations of the distant past to the Chinese peoples of later times.

Jade coiled dragon, c. 3500 B.C.E., Neolithic period, Hongshan culture, 4.6 x 7.6 cm, China © 2003 Private Collection © Trustees of the British Museum

The subtle variety of colors and textures of this exotic stone can be seen, as well as the many different types of carving, ranging from long, smooth Neolithic blades to later plaques, ornaments, dragons, animal and human sculpture.

Neolithic jade: Hongshan culture

It was long believed that Chinese civilization began in the Yellow River valley, but we now know that there were many earlier cultures both to the north and south of this area. From about 3800–2700 B.C.E. a group of Neolithic peoples known now as the Hongshan culture lived in the far north-east, in what is today Liaoning province and Inner Mongolia. The Hongshan were a sophisticated society that built impressive ceremonial sites. Jade was obviously highly valued by the Hongshan artifacts made of jade were sometimes the only items placed in tombs along with the body of the deceased.

Major types of jade of this period include discs with holes and hoof-shaped objects that may have been ornaments worn in the hair. This coiled dragon is an example of another important shape, today known as a “pig-dragon,” which may have been derived from the slit ring, or jue. Many jade artifacts that survive from this period were used as pendants and some seem to have been attached to clothing or to the body.

Arts of Ancient China, from the Bronze Age to the Golden Age

The Zhou was a powerful state in the region of modern-day Shaanxi province in northern China. It came to power after overthrowing the area’s Shang rulers in the mid-11th century BCE. In an effort to establish its cultural legitimacy, the Zhou adopted its predecessors’ religious rites the result was the uninterrupted manufacture of the kinds of ritual bronze vessels and jade implements that had been the sacred tomb furnishings of the Shang elite. In the eighth century BCE, however, attacks by nomadic invaders forced Zhou rulers to abandon their capital in modern-day Xi’an, Shaanxi province, and flee eastward to present-day Luoyang, Henan province they never again controlled a unified state. This move marks the division between the Western and Eastern Zhou periods, (c. 1050–771 and 770–256 BCE, respectively). The Eastern Zhou era saw a proliferation of luxury goods made of gold, silver, and lacquer being used as tomb objects, buried alongside the traditional bronzes and jades.

By the end of the Eastern Zhou period, ideas of the afterlife were shifting, and philosophers of the day inveighed against elaborate burials. By the Qin (221–206 BCE) and Han (206 BCE–220 CE) dynasties, as a belief in immortality took hold, both the structure and the contents of tombs began to change. Whereas Shang and Zhou tombs were essentially pits made to hold the dead and the items they would need in the afterlife, Qin and Han tombs were multi-chambered dwellings they could inhabit for all eternity. Ceramic replicas of vessels, architectural structures, domesticated animals, and servants replaced the precious objects (and living creatures) that had been interred in Bronze Age tombs.

A protracted period of disunity followed the Han dynasty, before the country was again unified under imperial rule by the Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) dynasties. During the post-Han period, as China’s contact with foreign cultures to its west increased, tomb sculptures began to depict foreigners and exotic animals. Known as China’s Golden Age, the Tang dynasty was a long period of peace, prosperity, and territorial expansion, famous for its literary and artistic achievements.

Hanfu's Influence in East Asia

Hanfu was a symbol of traditional Chinese culture.

It also had a far-reaching influence on the clothing in other neighboring Asian countries, such as the Japanese kimono, the Korean hanbok, and the Vietnamese Áo giao lĩnh.

Chinese clothing started to be adopted by the Japanese in the 5th century.

Traditional Japanese clothing is the kimono. The other term for it is gofuku, which means "clothing of Wu". Wu was one of China's Three Kingdoms (220–280).


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Eastern Zhou Jade Belt Ornament - History

Jade wares were extremely popular in ancient China because of their mysterious, elegant and translucent natures. Jade was endowed with many symbolic meanings by ancient Chinese people, like sublimity, spiritualism, nobility, chasteness and beauty as well as personalized and transnatural powers. A raft of jade wares has been unearthed in Shanxi. For instance the jade cong discovered in Taosi village was identified as a ceremonial item in rituals to offer sacrifices to the heaven, earth, gods and other spiritual beings. The god-faced jade qi, an axe-like weapon, discovered in Licheng, was a symbol of power. A great number of jade wares, which were identified as items of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, were discovered in the Marquis Jin's family tombs. The Jin tomb's jade wares feature excellent craftsmanship and exquisite patterns, representing a high-level in the history of jade. The jade ornaments unearthed in the Zhao's family tombs in Taiyuan were representative of the exquisite style of Eastern Zhou Dynasty. The jade production reached its peak during the Ming and Qing dynasties with a lot of delicately engraved and complicated-patterned items produced. The Ming Dynasty white jade sitting statue of Dharma and Qing Dynasty white jade bowl with gem inlays all represent the high level of craftsmanship of the times.

Jade huan, Western Zhou Dynasty

With an outer diameter of 15.6 cm and bore diameter of 6.8, the jade huan, or jade ring, was discovered in 1993 at the Marquis Jin's family tombs in Beizhao village in Quwo county. The two surfaces of the rings are decorated with the same patterns of two dragons. Cloud patterns were engraved between the two dragons, with smooth lines. The occupant of the tomb was the wife of Marquis Mu of the Jin state.

Jade gui with dragon and phoenix patterns

The jade gui, or jade plate, was discovered in 1992 at the No 31 tomb of the Marquis Jin's family tomb in Beizhao village, Quwo county. The jade gui was placed on the stomach of the tomb occupant. Both surfaces of the item were decorated with the same patterns of dragon and phoenix. With a crown on its head, the phoenix features a curved beak, round eyes, spreading wings and coiled tail feathers. The phoenix sets its claws on the dragon's body. The dragon features a coiled body and curved nose. A hole is near the mouth of the dragon, which is filled with a calaite stone. The lines of the patterns are smooth and delicate.

Watch the video: Very Rare Eastern Zhou Dynasty jade.


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