This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 248
雙龍雙蛇紋玉璜- 東周, 战国, 公元前4世紀
This small dragon-shaped pendant is ingeniously worked in the shape of two interlocking dragons. The heads, carved at the extremities, face opposite directions while their tails intertwine at the top of the ornament forming an elegant loop which acts as the suspension hole for the ornament. The dragons’ pawed claws emerge from the bottom of their bodies, while two more curling appendages overlap the dragons’ bodies at the centre of the pendant. This pendant can be considered to be a stylistic variation of the more common double-headed dragon pendants, where the animals share a common body. In this case however, the design is more complex, not just because the two dragons are partly intertwined but also because there is an additional pair of snakelike animals carved over the two dragons’ bodies. The snakes’ heads, seen from above, are placed close to the dragons’ heads, while their bodies, marked with thin lines, overlap those of the dragons. The jade is of a dark, brown colour with black marks and spots distributed all over the stone. There are a few old chips, mostly located at the centre of the composition near the bottom border, which were probably generated by faults in the stone when the jade was carved.
Two similar pendants are reproduced respectively in Yang Boda, Chinese Archaic Jades, no. 183, and in Salviati, Radiant Stones, no. 103. The main difference between these two pendants and the present one is that in the comparable pieces the dragons’ bodies cross over each other at the centre of the ornament, while each dragon’s tail touches the other dragon’s jaw, designing a horizontal “8”-shaped pattern. The suspension hole is thus not created by the intertwining tails, as in the present example, but by the appendages of the dragons’ bodies which, as in the present example, are adorned with an additional snake-like creature extending over the whole length of the dragons’ bodies.
Provenance: From an old private Austrian collection