This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 321
勾雲獸頭紋玉璲- 西漢, 公元前2世紀-前1世紀
An excellently worked gou typical of the time, the Chinese word means “hook”. Accordingly, a hook is designed at one end of the clasp to fasten a belt. Below in the center is a rectangular eyelet box for the band passage. Sword scabbard- or sheath-slides were used to hang the weapon from the belt and were one of the most common accessories used by the nobility of ancient China during the late Eastern Zhou and Han periods. The example here is representative of two well-known types of the Han period: they share the same form - a flat top with a slightly curved end and a rectangular loop on the back and a similar decoration. The sculptural decor on the upper side shows a large chilong, the body is fluted and performs typical exalted movement. The long tail is split and has curls on the end. Amusing is the young dragon on one end. Whitish jade with light yellow-green tone, nice translucence, yellow-brown to red-brown areas, the little chi dragon is dark. Some age characteristics, minor weathering on the edges.
The scabbard slide can be compared to many similar ones in collections around the world: see for example the one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, acc. no. 1985.214.101, or the one in the Freer/Sackler galleries, acc. no. S1987.651, carved from a similar stone. Three other similar examples are in the Samuel and Myrna Myers collection.
Provenance: From an old Austrian-Hungarian collection