Liangzhu: Ritual Objects at the Dawn of China’s Jade Age by Throckmorton Fine Art

Auction Description

Throckmorton Fine Art is pleased to offer a collection 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 2300 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 being offered, 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. All lots will be made available to view in person during normal business hours, or by appointment outside those hours. Bidders are encouraged and advised to examine personally, prior to and during the auction, any lots in which they are interested. Final responsibility rests with the buyer to assess the condition of any item sold by Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc. All inquiries are welcome and additional pictures can be provided upon request. All works offered have been examined by one or more published authorities in the field and all come with a certificate of authenticity. All works offered were imported into the U.S. prior to 2009 in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and The People's Republic of China, and 19 CFR 12.104g(a), subject to the provisions of 19 U.S.C. 2606.

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Terms & Conditions

Please read the following Terms and Conditions of Sale (“Terms of Sale”) carefully. This is an online auction sale (“Sale”). The seller is THROCKMORTON FINE ART, INC. (“Seller”). These terms are applicable to bidder, buyer, collector, or agent (“Bidder”). Bidder’s participation in this Sale constitutes acceptance of these Terms of Sale. By placing a bid, Bidder accepts to pay the total sale price for each lot. The total sale price consists of the hammer price for a lot plus the buyer’s premium and any applicable taxes and fees. A buyer’s premium of twenty percent (20%) will be added to the hammer price of all successful bids. All Bidders must register to bid, and all Bidders will need a valid credit card to register. Bidding will be conducted exclusively online on’s system. The high and low estimates are for reference only. The low estimate is the reserve. The highest bidder acknowledged by Seller will be determined as the buyer (“Buyer”). In the event of any dispute arises between bidders, Seller decides who constitutes the Buyer. Seller reserves the right to withdraw any lot at any time before the actual sale, and Seller reserves the right to reject a bid from any bidder. Payment is due immediately by Buyer upon completion of the sale. No lots will be released to Buyer until Seller has received payment in full. Seller agrees to deliver the lot to Buyer by common carrier to Buyer’s premises or to such other location as directed by Buyer, at Buyer’s expense. Buyer agrees to promptly reimburse Seller for reasonable third-party costs and expenses paid by Seller relating to the packing, transporting, shipping, and insuring of the lot for delivery to Bidder. Out-of-state Buyers will be responsible for any applicable state sales or use taxes in such other state to which the lot is shipped. International Buyers are responsible for all customs and import/export regulations. Seller will not be held liable for domestic or international laws affecting the delivery of the purchased lots. To the best of Seller’s knowledge, the description and condition of all lots provided on the auction site catalog are accurate. Other than as specifically represented by Seller on the auction site catalog, Bidder is purchasing the lot in “as is” condition, without any representations or warranties by Seller as to value, condition, quality, rarity, importance, provenance, exhibitions, literature, or historical relevance. Bidder hereby represents she or he has examined the lot and related information and voluntarily wishes to purchase the lot as is. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any lot may be returned by Buyer within fifteen days of the sale if the lot was inaccurately described by Seller on the auction site catalog. Bidder must show material inaccuracies in the description or condition and return the lot to Seller immediately after informing Seller of such inaccuracies; the lot must be received by Seller in the same condition as it was sent. Any claims regarding the authenticity of the lot must be made within sixty (60) days of the sale. Sales older than sixty (60) days are final. Buyer’s sole remedy any claim related to any lots sale shall be an action for rescission and, in any event, the absolute limit of Seller’s liability and responsibility will under no circumstance exceed the total sales price and Seller will not be responsible for any special, incidental, or consequential damages. By using and accessing’s websites, Bidder agrees to be bound by such website’s terms and conditions. Seller is not liable for any viruses, missed bids, or outages while accessing’s websites or platforms. Seller is not responsible for the information, content, or other materials on any of’s websites or platforms. These Terms of Sale will be governed, construed, and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of New York without regard to conflict of laws principles. Seller and Bidder will submit all their disputes arising out or related with these Terms of Sale and the underlying transactions to the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal or state courts located in the City of New York in the State of New York.