Lot 19. A rare pair of finely carved jade 'dragon' pendants, Warring States Period (475-221 BC). Each 14.6cm (5 3/4in) long. Estimate HK$ 200,000-300,000. Sold for HK$ 275,000 (€ 32,621). Photo: Bonhams.
Each dragon carved flat, with a backward-turned head detailed with small eyes and a long prominent snout, the elegantly undulating body carved with scrolling limbs and a dense pattern of tight scrolls on both sides, the stone of a pale straw-yellow tone.
Note: Matching pendants of this quality are rare and would have been reserved for those of very high station and rank. Dragon-shaped pendants of this type with 'S'-shaped bodies and scrolling limbs were included in the range of jade pendants sets from tombs dating from the 4th and 5th centuries BC. Several excavated examples are mentioned by J.Rawson, Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, London, 1996, p.261. Although a great number of pendants in this style were produced, the decoration covering the bodies of these dragons varied considerably, ranging from incised cloud scrolls, rush-mat or hexagonal patterns in relief, and raised spiraling or grain-type bosses.
The holes drilled at the top centre enabled the pendant to be hung in perfect balance at the bottom of an assembled set of other components including, beads, huang and bi disc carvings. For a discussion of the pendant assemblage, see J.F.So, Chinese Jades from the Cissy and Robert Tang Collection, Hong Kong, 2015, pp.110-111.
Compare a pair of 'dragon' pendants of related form but with raised spiral bosses, in the Sir Joseph Hotung collection, illustrated by J.Rawson, op. cit., p.267, no.17:9; and another pair excavated from the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng, illustrated by Gu Fang, The Pictorial Handbook of Ancient Chinese Jades, Beijing, 2007, p.188. A slender 'dragon' jade plaque with similar thickly incised cloud-scrolls, early Warring States period, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated in Art in Quest of Heaven and Truth – Chinese Jades Through the Ages, Taipei, 2012, p.98, pl.5-6-13; see also a pair, mid-Warring States period, in the Aurora Museum, Taipei, illustrated by Sun Qingwei, Jades of Warring States Period , Taipei, 2007, pl.93.
Bonhams. The Sze Yuan Tang Collection of Chinese Jades, Hong Kong, 5 April 2016