Archaic and Imperial China
Xia / Shang / Zhou Dynasties (2100 ­- 256 BC)

Belonged to the collection of a French diplomat, posted in Beijing in the 80's.


Object :
Nº 1709
Medium :
Dimensions :
Height: 9 cm (3.5”)

Description :

Small dragon in translucent white and red nephrite jade. Presented in profile, face with large ears, long tail and a bellied body. Signs of manual craftsmanship, irregular edges. Conical holes. Signs of limestone penetration and whitish marks.

This piece is a pendant belonging to the tradition of funerary rites. It is composed of jade, a very hard stone that is cut following pure geometrical forms, often with harmoniously placed motifs and perfect finishings. The working of this material in ancient times could only be done by methods of friction, abrasion and polishing. The composite material of jade, which is by nature extremely hard, was clearly chosen based on its symbolic value of purity and its association with hardness, as well as various other values unique to the Chinese culture. Cultures which followed valued jade for its attributed property of protecting the body on its journey to the world of our ancestors, eventually to sit amongst the immortals.