Subject:Not a Liangzhu cong and not jade
Posted By: Super Tue, Apr 19, 2022
About 16 years ago I was extremely interested in the studying of Liangzhu jade items especially congs, but the problem is there were really not many credible literatures on Liangzhu jade. Worse, there were simply not enough credible Liangzhu jade especially congs existed for study. Most of the credible ones were in Chinese museums. Even some of the congs with provenances that were auctioned by renown auction houses, were simply fakes or at best better fakes that were made in later Chinese dynasties. Therefore, it was extremely difficult even to know exactly what type of jade material were used during the Lianhzhu culture to make jade items especially congs. I had actually seen many beautiful imitation Liangzhu congs made of good and genuine nephrite jade, however, the nephrite jade used, IMHO, was either imported from outside China or was recently mined from Kunlun mountain in Xinjiang.
The cong shown here, was light green inside, then turned into a Chicken Bone White color with either burning, high heat or chemical to give it an authentic look because most authentic Liangzhu congs were usually found after they were burned in religious rituals, usually left with a Chichen Bone White appearance.
Therefore, the material used to make this cong is probably some types of cheap serpentine or xi-yu that could be easily scratched. The chance of it being nephrite, IMHO is almost nil. The chance of any soft material turning harder after burning, again is nil. Interestingly, I do not believe you can determine the authenticity of a Laingzhu cong by using a scratch test or by testing their hardness. First of all, how do we know that material used in making congs during Liangzhu culture must be HARD enough that it cannot be scratched?
Even today, to find large enough nephrite or material that is hard enough (i.e. with MOH hardness >5.0) is simply not easy and expensive.
So where would the Liangzhu people find large HARD material to make their congs? How would they cut and remove the stone and shape it into a cong? I know you would tell me they have diamond and corundum (but mostly they were for polishing) even today trying to cut nephrite jade would not be an easy task. You can try. Therefore I actually believe that many of the authentic Liangzhu jade pieces especially the large ones were probably not made of nephrite or with material with high MOH hardness. Many of them could be corroded with ages since they were made with inferior material and that may be why it is so hard to find large authentic Liangzhu jade items. Therefore I really do not believe there are that many authentic Liangzhu jade congs available in private collections.
I saw many modern Liangzhu congs that were made of nephrite and they could not be scratched. Therefore to use hardness to authenticate a Liangzhu cong, IMHO, is totally useless.
Secondly, if authentic Liangzhu jade congs were burned in fire, it would affect their hardness and doing a scratch test on any archaic or Neolithic jade items, IMHO, is simply useless and crazy. No pun intended. This is only my personal opinion.
I myself had made the same mistake and performed scratch tests with MOH hardness picks on most of my jade items, rocks, slabs I studied and I now regret it because I might have accidentally damaged some possibly authentic jade items.
Based on my previous studies, many buried jades including some that were found in huge tombs in China, buried during different dynasties, were not necessarily made of nephrite jade (i.e. Hetian jade) because sometime due to the urgency of the burial and the large number of burial jade items required, many burial jades were made with LOCAL jades found in areas close to the tombs, therefore many were not nephrite or hard stone and therefore they could be easily scratched and even nephrite jade could be corroded by time or burial conditions, therefore a scratch test, in this case, is simply not effective in determining the authenticity or age of a jade item.
Again, these are only my personal opinions and this cong can indeed be an authentic Liangzhu cong. Unfortunately, there had been a lot of Chinese factories made large numbers of fake jade congs with molds (put powder inside). Judging by the quality of material, appearance and workmanship of this cong, I have to say the chance of it being an authentic Liangzhu cong, is less than 0.01% Sorry!
This link shows some of the Liangzhu jade items that were displayed in the Liangzhu Museum in China:
I really cannot speak for the authenticity of their displayed Liangzhu jades. You can be the judge.
Thanks for sharing pictures of your cong with us. If you truly believe it is authentic, then you should spend some time in learning about the Liangzhu culture and its jade items, then use what you learn to support you conclusion that this can be an authentic Laingzhu cong. That is actually part of the fun of jade collecting.