Neolithic Period Hongshan Culture (3500-2200 BCE)
Height: 8.9 cm (3.5 in)
The tall upright “s” dragon is smoothly fashioned with a faceted almost lozenge shaped body ending in a hollowed concave tail, flipped up and pointed at the end. A single horn or mane springs from the forehead over the arched neck flipped up at the end. Tucked under in a coy manner the head has lightly fashioned details of the eyes, mouth and cheeks. Altered from burial the jade appears an opaque white with some visible striations and encrustation. The polish and feel of the stone is soft and alluring.
Although this shape seems to be unrecorded jade objects of this size with similar subtle design elements and smooth tactile surfaces are typical of the Hongshan culture of the Neolithic period.
Jessica Rawson illustrates a coiled dragon in grey/green jade, no. 1:4 and a bird with outstretched wings, no.1: 5 in Chinese Jade From the Neolithic to the Qing, British Museum Press,1995. Both of these animals display soft features and hollowed or concave details.
The Circle Crested Dragon in dark black-green jade from The Peony Collection and illustrated by Angus Forsyth and Brian McElney, number 7 in Jades from China, has many similar characteristics including the design of the much larger mane or horn, the point at the terminal of the tail and the lightly fashioned facial details.