Jade. China, Late Neolithic period, Hongshan culture, c. 3500-2500 BC
The translucent jade, which is polished and smooth, is of a pale celadon tone with few mottled creamy-white inclusions.
Depicted is a coiled “pig-dragon”. The cut stands for the mouth of the animal, whereas the lines carved just above the incision suggest the snout. The round, bulging eyes are highlighted and encircled by a large groove, while the ears of the mythical creature emerge slightly from the jade. An additional conical perforation on the back, just below the head, serves as the suspension hole.
One of the most typical categories of Hongshan ornaments is definitively represented by pendants carved in the shape of coiled ‘dragons’ or mythical creatures. The overall shape of the ornament recalls the original rounded shape of the pebble out of which the ornament was carved.
Pendants worked in the shape of coiled dragons are attested in several Hongshan sites: see those reproduced in Liaoning Archaeological Institute, Niuheliang Hongshan wenhua yizhi yu yuqi jingcui (A short presentation of the Niuheliang archaeological site, Hongshan culture and its jades), Beijing 1997, nos. 1, 2 and 5.
HEIGHT 8 cm
Provenance: From a German private collection.
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