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Seated Sun God - Hongshan Culture 红山 - 文化玉器太阳神

Seated sun god with elliptical eyes and a massive snouted bovine head, supported by four rounded antlers. A biconically bored whole pierces the neck from side to side. Dark-green nephritic jade with brown streaks - 12 x 5.5 cm, weight: 0.25 kg. Northeastern China, probably Hongshan culture (ca. 4710-2920 BC), late Neolithic period. Artifacts of this type can be seen in the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Östasiatika museet in Stockholm, the Aurora Collection in Taipei, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Palace Museum in Beijing.

Tibetan Ritual Art & Jade Ornaments of the Hongshan (紅山文化) cultures

This exhibition is devoted to the ancient arts of Asia, focusing on a highly individual topic, the prehistoric jade-carving cultures of northeastern China. Despite its emphasis on Chinese archaic jade, the collection has been augmented by various other groups of objects, ranging from Tibetan, Tibeto-Chinese and Mongolian Buddhist ritual art to Inner Mongolian jade figures, pig-dragons, birds, protective amulets and other ceremonial archetypes, remains from past Inner and East Asian cultures. The selected examples open a door to a remarkably fascinating world, providing insight into inspired visions, esoteric sciences and the ingenious command of medium that enabled the past skilled craftsmen to imbue the awareness of the metaphysical, formless realms upon the MATER of this ""desire realm"" of embodiment, Jambudvîpa—home of the humans. Each of the items has been attentively selected for its conceptual clarity, subtle and elegant sophistication of form, most vibrant visual power and arcane aura. The collection has been formed over many decades and the first jade objects in the INNAJA collection have been acquired as early as the first half of the last century, when little was known about the religious and decorative arts of eastern Asia. At this time, interest and appreciation was largely unfamiliar to the West and only a few leading international art dealers and collectors have made a difference (see: Introduction). More pieces had gradually become available and added to the collection over the past decades. The exhibits were chosen for their rare artistic distinction and have been appropriately photographed and arranged for this online-exhibition. Many artworks in the INNAJA collection have never been published before and are accessible in this comprehensive context for the first time to the public. The collection is conceived as an integrated whole that may be enhanced from time to time. The exhibition is free, non-commercial and non-for-profit. We are pleased to have the opportunity to transmit the supernatural wisdom and bliss that is present in this devotional religious imagery—legacy of a fantastic past.

Neither of the archaic jades in the INNAJA collection has an archeologically attested provenance recorded indeed. However, under the disclosure of recent investigations and through comparison, it might be attempted to establish a relation of some jades in the INNAJA collection—and eventually attribute them—to the Neolithic Pre-Hongshan and Hongshan jade-carving cultures, where scientific methodological explorations of burials, tombs and other remains recovered jade funerary and prestige objects exposing similar unusual colors, stylistic and material characteristics and craftmanship, dating back 9,000 years. With field surveys conducted in recent years and the increase of controlled excavations and archaeological endeavors in northeastern China, museums and galleries have redefined and redated many early Chinese jades in their collections, which where once associated to the Shang (Chn. 商朝, ca. 16th century-1046 BC) or Chou (Chn: 周朝, ca. 11th century-259 BC) dynasty. This mentioned beforehand, some jades on display bears an intrinsic similarity with comparable examples in collections, publications and from recent excavations. They might belong to the Hongshan culture (ca. 4710-2920 BC) which developed in the arid southeastern and central plains of eastern Inner Mongolian (Neî Menggu), western Liaoning and northern Hebei provinces. Others might occasionally originate from the steppes and deserts of northern China's east western corridor, stretching from the offshoots of the Ala-Shan-Mai desert in today's northernmost Gansu, to the arid, transitional, forest-steppe zones of Manchuria.

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