This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 254
龍形玉佩- 東周, 战国, 公元前4世紀
These rather sketchy dragon-shaped pendants form a category of jades that is mostly attested in royal and princely burials of the Chu culture where they are usually found in pairs. These jades were not worn as pendants in life but rather used as accompanying burial goods that were placed in the grave, sometimes over the coffin. Quite imposing in size, this plaque is shaped like a sketched dragon in profile whose body bend in a bold “S”-shaped form. The main feature of the dragon is highlighted through cut-outs in the stone: the crested head is turned towards the back, the tips of the snouts touch the bodys and the long tail bend upwards, terminating in a bifurcated volute. The central portion of the body, drilled with small perforations, is decorated with bold, incised curls: instead, the neck, crest and tail are marked by simple engraved lines which follow the undulations of the dragons’ body.
Many jades of this type have been excavated from Chu culture tombs of the late Warring States period in Hubei. Similar pieces were discovered in 1976 in the Han period tombs at Guangling, Yangzhou, Zhejiang province. A pair of very similar dragon-shaped jades was found in 2011 from a princely Eastern Zhou tomb in Lu’an city, Anhui province. Another comparable example is represented by a dragon plaque in the Freer/Sackler Galleries, Washington, D.C., which is said to have come from Changsha, Hunan province (acc. no.F1917.376).
Provenance: From an old Austrian-Hungarian collection