A CAPTIVATING PENDANT DECORATED WITH A DRAGON AND MONKEY IN HIGH RELIEF AND AN INCISED PHOENIX
Jade, China. Western Han, 2nd – 1st century BC 龍猴鳳紋韘形玉佩 - 西漢, 公元前3世紀-前2世紀
This delightful pendant is carved in the shape of an oval ring, with an incised design on the flat side and a more animated decoration of a dragon and monkey carved in relief on the other. The curvy, sculptural body of the dragon circles the central hole: its limbs are marked by thin, parallel lines that indicate the fur. A long, pointed and multi-curled projection from the body of the dragon extends beyond the edge of the ring. The long, wavy tail stretches in the opposite direction and is grasped by a little monkey perched above the ring that seems to be smiling, as if playing joyfully with the dragon’s tail. The back of the jade is smooth and polished with a delicate engraved pattern of scrolls, curls and a phoenix in profile (see the detail in the photographs). The back of the jade is mostly white and partly translucent, while the front has various tones of brown and russet that emphasize the body of the dragon.
A pendant in the shape of an archer’s ring with a similar decoration of a dragon and a monkey perched on top is published in F. Salviati, 4000 Years of Chinese Archaic Jades, Edition Zacke, Vienna 2017, no.325.
LENGTH 6 CM – WIDTH 3.5 CM 長6 厘米 - 寬 3.5 厘米
From an Austrian collection
All jades in this catalogue have been professionally examined, authenticated and described by Prof. Filippo Salviati. Professor Salviati teaches Chinese and Korean art at Sapienza University in Rome, in the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies. He is a world expert on archaic Chinese jades, having released multiple publications and being cited by renowned auction houses such as Sotheby’s. The microscopic images made available here, show that the weathering of the jade has occurred over a long period of time. Furthermore in the magnification one can reconstruct the workings of the jade. The two aforementioned criteria are exactly what counts in the authentication of archaic jades – the difficult and elaborate workmanship by hand and the subsequent weathering of the jade over centuries. The microscopic enlargements show how the patterns were ground out in many small steps, sometimes over months, and that the weathering actually occurs above the carvings, meaning it occurred after the jade was completed.