« Neolithic Jades of the Liangzhu Culture in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum of Hangzhou | Main | Antiquity Collectors Market - Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China »

Copies of Neolithic Jades of the Liangzhu Culture, Zhejiang, China

H.Giess - Friends of Jade
December 2004

Copy of a Liangzhu Cong

The term Liangzhu Jade culture relates to one of the most interesting Late Neolithic Cultures (ca.3000 - 2000 B.C) in China, characterized by advanced paddy farming tools, exquisite black pottery vessels and refined jade artefacts such as Cong-Tubes, Bi-Discs, Yue-Axes, Awl-shaped ornaments, Three-Pronged Plaques and so on, in a typically white “Burial” or “Chicken Bone” Tremolite type Jade from an exhausted local source probably near Suzhou. (See also MINERALOGY AND ALTERATION OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADE ARTIFACTS)

Copies of Liangzhu Jade artefacts

Zhejiang Province and the site of the major archaeological excavations which started in 1936 by Shi Xingeng. The actual Liangzhu culture area is bound in the North by Lake Taihu and the Lower Jangtze River and in the South by the Qiantang River estuary and the mayor discoveries have been found over an area of 30 square kilometres with more than 50 sites.

The nucleus of the culture has been identified to be located in three towns of Liangzhu, Anxi and Pingyao within the District of Yuhang. Since the 80’s massive quantities of Jade artefacts have been found from controlled excavations from the Fan Shan, Yao Shan, Huiguan Shan and Mojiao Shan sites.

General area of the Liangzhu Jade Culture and the Hangzhou/Yuhang sites in the circled area

Key Liangzhu Culture archaeological sites between Liangzhu, Pingyao and Anxi.

In terms of quality, quantity, variety and technical excellence, these Jades present the climax in Jade industry in Prehistoric China and are present in numerous collections across the world.(See also Jades of The Liangzhu Culture – Catalogue of the 1998 exposition at the Hong Kong Art Museum - ISBN 962-7101-40- and other publications). http://www.artmediaresources.com/item.cfm/5856 In order to display the artefacts uncovered in the area, the Liangzhu Culture Museum, located northwest of Liangzhu town and on the east side of Road 104 going north from Hangzhou, was established in 1994. It covers 1600 square meters and has three large exhibition halls.

Liangzhu Culture Museum with Cong shaped turrets.
GPS coordinates: 30°22’56”N – 120°02’36”E
Address :78 Liangbo Road, Liangzhu Township, Yuhang District, Hangzhou
Telephone Number:0571-88770700 88778900
Website Link

In pure Chinese Museum and Exposition Tradition however most if not all artefacts shown there, are exact copies of the originals stored in the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Hangzhou. From this tradition of making exposition quality copies, the Museum has farmed out to a small company the task of making & selling reproductions/copies of different Liangzhu Culture Jade items such as Bi’s, Cong’s, Axe blades etc. These piece are not made in Nephrite Jade but in a yellowish translucent soft rock which, when treated accordingly, gets the typical Chicken Bone or Burned Jade surface aspect. During a recent business trip to Hangzhou I had the possibility to visit this factory and meet Mr. Jin in charge of the sales. He showed me his production facility located in the small village of Zhaoshan north of Liangzhu, which was busy to complete an order for the Zhejiang Provincial Government. Liangzhu Jade reproductions are a favourite gift to visiting delegations. The basic material for the copies is a soft translucent greenish rock he is getting by truckload from the Liaoning Province in Northern China. The pieces are shaped with diamond tools and get the “buried or tomb jade” exterior surface aspect by a treatment he was not willing to reveal except that it may take several weeks. It is my guess that it may be a hydrothermal (water at >120°C) replicating the reactions occurring naturally in the ground. He seems to be however also an expert of how “real” Liangzhu pieces look like, some of them are still found during agricultural work in the area, and could certainly help in identifying real “fakes” which may have entered collections.

1. Liangzhu Artifact Copies factory in Zhaoshan (GPS coordinates: 30°25’10”N – 120°00’27”E)
2. Pale yellow green and soft (scratched by knife) raw material coming from Liaoning Province, Northern China.

1. Cong tube coring drills
2. “Production” line of Cong’s with dust blowers at each workplace

1. Carving out details with a diamond drill
2. Smoothing the surfaces with a diamond file

1. Finishing touches applied to the Cong’s
2. Pale green Cong’s ready to be “aged” with a “secret” (hydrothermal?) method

1. “Aged” Cong’s now with a white surface
2. Surface luster given to them with a soft brush

1. Finished copy of the “giant” Fan Shan Cong (16x8cm)
2. Showcases in the factory with Axe blades, Bi’s and Cong’s

1. Sets of Liangzhu artefacts
2. Color of material before (left) and after aging (right) treatment

1. Small Cong - 7x10cm - 45-50US$
2. Tall Cong - 8x24cm - 100-160US$
3. Giant or King of Cong’s - 16x8cm - 340US$

1. Liangzhu Set - Bi-Cong-Axe blade - about 8-15cm each - 30US$
2. Pendant mounted in frame - 6cm - 35US$
3. Crown mounted in frame - 7cm - 35US$

Liangzhu Culture Jade Collector book with Chinese and English text showing the most prominent Liangzhu Culture Jade shapes supplemented with are reproduction piece inserted into the page. 70US$

Note: All prices are subject to change and do not include shipping which will be decided individually.

Note: The pictures in this contribution have been compressed so to facilitate the download from the FOJ homepage and have lost a little bit of resolution. Contact me if you need better copies.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

Very interesting article.I am a new member on the net but old member before the web. Miss my articles on Jade from FOJ and so find this article very informative and always useful to be updated on latest development. Thank you FOJ.Will try to get my fellow Jade lovers to join !
December 2, 2006 | Registered CommenterY.F. Lau

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.