This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 247
雙蛇龍形玉飾- 東周, 公元前5世紀-前4世紀
This delicate small pendant carved as a dragon in profile with two snake-like creatures on its body has quite an unusual shape and lacks the sense of symmetry which characterizes similar Eastern Zhou small ornaments of the same category. Actually, it seems that the pendant has been recarved from a larger piece of jade, as the side of the ornament opposite the dragon’s head ends abruptly with a very sharp, vertical cut, thus shortening the tail of the snake so that it does not end in the gentle, spiraling way like the tail of the other snake-like creature. The way the image is composed is also quite odd: the dragon in profile has the central portion of its body entirely occupied by a curled snake whose head extends downwards towards the dragon’s clawed feet. The extended and sharply curved body of a second snake-like animal forms the top left part of the ornament and outlines a cut-out area in the jade, as the body of the other snake at the centre of the pendant does. The bodies of the two animals are decorated with different patterns: the one on the top left is incised with scales, the other with thin, twisting parallel lines. This same pattern also marks the neck of the dragon, whose body is further decorated with curls and “S”-shaped motifs. The claws of the dragon, emerging from the bottom of the animal, are clearly delineated, as are its eyes, protruding ear and large, upturned snout. The jade is of an intense green colour: one side shows signs of strong, natural weathering, in the form of brown and darker, black areas, the latter probably also due to high iron inclusions in the stone. Despite the oddity of its shape, this ornament has an almost exact counterpart in one published in Wu Hung and Morgan, “Chinese Jades from the Mu-Fei Collection”, no. 22, which exhibits not only the same motifs and abrupt cut but which was also carved out of a jade very similar to the present one.
Provenance: From an old Austrian collection