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


open Exhibition

Highlights from the Gallery


Early Shang Dynasty, circa 15th Century B.C.

the sturdy blade with straight cutting edge on one side opposite a gently curving edge, beveled on both sides of both edges, the short sharp point set slightly askew with a shallow medial ridge rising from the point and dissolving into the flat center of the blade, pierced with a central aperture at the base of the squared tang marked by a pair of small teeth projecting at either side, the butt end left rough on one side, the grayish green stone with darker mottling.

Length 11 14 inches (28.5 cm)

Compare the similar Shang dynasty jade ge unearthed from the Eastern Zhou cemetery at Liangdaicun, Hancheng, Shaanxi province, illustrated in Yuhui Jinsha: Xia Shang shiqi yu wenhua tezhan (A Convergence of Jade at Jinsha: Special Exhibition of the Jade Culture of the Xia and Shang Periods), Chengdu, 2017, p. 89. Another similar Shang dynasty jade ge excavated from ritual pit no. 2 at Sanxingdui, Guanghan, Sichuan province, is illustrated by Gu (ed.), Zhongguo chutu yuqi quanji (Complete Collection of Jades Unearthed in China), Vol. 13, Sichuan, Chongqing, Beijing, 2005, p. 33.

Shang jade dagger-axes were made for ceremonial use, but in form they were modelled after functional bronze weapons. For a comprehensive discussion of this form of jade blade as it evolved throughout the Shang dynasty, see Wilson, “Lithic Art in the Bronze Age: A Jade Dagger-Axe,” The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, January 1990, vol. 77, no. 1, where the author illustrates on p. 12 fig. 15 a bronze dagger-axe of closely related form, unearthed at Xinzheng, Henan province, described as Erligang period.

商早期      玉戈      長28.5厘米