A RARE AND LARGE CALCIFIED YELLOW JADE ZHULONG ('PIG DRAGON') NEOLITHIC PERIOD, HONGSHAN CULTURE | 新石器時代紅山文化 黃玉豬龍
PROPERTY FROM THE HEI-CHI COLLECTION 熙墀收藏
Property from the Hei-Chi Collection
A RARE AND LARGE CALCIFIED YELLOW JADE ZHULONG ('PIG DRAGON')
NEOLITHIC PERIOD, HONGSHAN CULTURE
of generous proportions, the iconic coiled body further accentuated with a superbly rendered wrinkled snout, the signature slit below the sealed lips terminated before meeting the central perforation, the neck drilled for suspension
10 cm, 3 ⅞ in.
The zhulong is in good condition with expected shallow flakes, the largest measuring approx. 0.8 cm to the left side of the mouth.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.
Jiang Tao and Liu Yunhui, Jades from the Hei-Chi Collection, Beijing, 2006, p. 27.
The Grandeur of Chinese Art Treasures: Min Chiu Society Golden Jubilee Exhibition, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 2010, cat. no. 188.
Notable for its large size, this carving depicts a zhulong, or pig-dragon, a modern term that describes the animal’s upturned snout, prominent bulging eyes and coiled body. Considered to represent the prototype of depictions of mythological dragons in later Chinese art, zhulong are some of the most interesting creations of the enigmatic Hongshan culture (c. 3500 BC), and evidence the existence of a complex system of belief in supernatural forces.
Jade zhulong have been recovered at various tomb sites in Northern China, often placed on the chest of the tomb occupants, suggesting they were worn as chest ornaments. These carvings have been studied by Elizabeth Childs-Johnson in ‘Jades of the Hongshan Culture’, Arts Asiatiques, vol. XLVI, December 1991, pp. 82-95, where she identifies the territory of the Liaoxi and Liaodong peninsulas, and the upper and lower valleys of the Liao river as the areas where these Hongshan remains originated from. While the function of these carvings have not been determined, fragments of a zhulong have been recovered at a fertility temple complex in Niuheliang, Kezuo, Liaoning province, suggesting a connection with fertility rituals.
A jade zhulong of similar proportions is illustrated in Roger Keverne, Jade, London, 1995, p. 62, fig. 22; a slightly larger one in the Liaoning Provincial Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics is illustrated in Hongshan wenhua yuqi jianshang [Connoisseurship of jades from the Hongshan culture], Beijing, 2014, p. 94, no. 1; and another in the Tianjin Museum, is published in Tianjin shi yishu bowuguan cang. Yu [Jades in the Tianjin Museum], Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 7. See also a slightly smaller yellow jade zhulong recently sold in these rooms, 11th July 2020, lot 102 [https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2020/monochrome-hk0939/lot.102.html].
中國北方數處墓葬遺址曾出土玉豬龍，多位於墓主胸上，或可推測原為配掛胸前之物。Elizabeth Childs-Johnson 專文〈Jades of the Hongshan Culture〉，《Arts Asiatiques》，卷XLVI，1991年12月，頁82-95，論及遼西、遼東半島及遼河上游、下游河谷為紅山文化發源地，玉豬龍原始用途雖未明，遼寧牛河梁遺址女神廟出土玉豬龍殘器，據此，或與繁衍生殖之祭祀相關。
參考一件比例近類玉豬龍，刊於 Roger Keverne，《Jade》，倫敦，1995年，頁62，圖22；遼寧省文物考古研究所藏一例，尺寸更大，錄於《紅山文化玉器鑑賞》，北京，2014年，頁94，編號1；天津博物館藏一例，載於《天津市藝術博物館藏玉》，香港，1993年，圖版7。並參考香港蘇富比售出一件黃玉豬龍，尺寸較小，2020年7月11日，編號102。