龍形玉觿- 東周晚期, 西漢早期, 公元前3世紀-前2世紀
The xi or “knot-opener”, shaped as a dragon with an arched shape and an acuminated tip, is another of the Zhou period jade forms that continued to be carved under the Han. The example here date to these two periods and show analogies in form but substantial differences in decoration. The features of the dragon’s head are only hinted at through incisions on the border, and the mouth is rendered with a slit which also acts as the suspension hole. Further images of dragon-like creatures in different positions and guises are carved on both sides of the jade in an almost specular manner: altogether, four dragon heads cover the surface of the pendant. Some details of their stylized bodies are clearly recognizable, such as the claws and the necks, filled with etched patterns, while others remain more difficult to read. The jade is whitish with some alteration, and the remains of soil encrustations and reddish powder in areas of the incised design. This dragon-shaped xi matches a similar jade, decorated with a sequence of animals, in the collections of the Palace Museum, Beijing.
This jade is published in Filippo Salviati 4000 YEARS OF CHINESE ARCHAIC JADES Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no. 315
Provenance: From an old Austrian-Hungarian collection