Are these the most valuable glass beads ever sold? Similar examples
Re: Warring States Beads @ Auction? -- Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Will Post Reply
04/18/2017, 12:50:38

Thanks, Abe, for showing these, and Fred for digging up the prices.

The Chinese texts are mainly descriptive, with some rather poetic stuff about the connections to the divine through the symmetry of the patterns. Nothing really about provenance except to refer to 173 similar (?? beads having been excavated from a Warring States tomb near Suizhou.

I can't see any obvious reason to doubt their authenticity. There are a few beads of the same exquisite quality in equally good condition in museum collections. I'll attach a couple of photos, the first from the Shanghai Museum (photo by Robert Liu) and another from the Miho Museum (the most beautiful museum in the world, incidentally). The pictures in transmitted light are really convincing.

BUT one also has to ask how reliable the auction house is. They're a fairly new business (nothing wrong with that); they specialize in jade, but some of the archaic jade they have listed doesn't convince me completely, and sometimes they seem to have quite a few unsold lots. The Chinese auction scene is so complicated, with elements of money-laundering amidst government attempts to suppress corruption, and there are bound to be unanswered question about who owned them and how did they get them, who is selling and why, and who is buying and why.

Meanwhile, I'm sure the glass beadmakers in Jember are already hard at work figuring out how to make convincing copies (if they haven't done so already!).



WS:3cm:RLiu:ShanghaiMus.jpg (28.3 KB)  MihoWS1b.jpg (24.2 KB)  

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