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1936 (the spelunker thinks)
Ming Wilson, 'Liangzhu Jades Rediscovered' in Oriental Art, Winter 1995/96, pp.2-8.
Ming Wilson, Chinese Jades, 2004, no.12
Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee
ca. 2500 BC (made)
Axe head, nephrite, Liangzhu, circa 2500 BC
Height: 12.5 cm, Width: 8.5 cm, Diameter: 0.6 cm hole
Nephrite jade, carved museum_number
Variegated dark green and grey. Near the hole, on both sides, are marks of the cord that joined the axe to a wooden shaft.
Knife-shaped and axe-shaped blades made from stone were probably working tools in Neolithic societies. The Chinese also made blades from jade. This beautiful mineral is hard but brittle, so the blades are unlikely to have been put to practical use. Instead they would have been held by chieftains as symbols of authority. Large quantities of jade blades have been excavated in different regions in China, indicating their widespread use over a span of more than 3,000 years.