Draft catalogue entry (no. 146) for S2012.9.339 for the catalogue of the Singer collection (1970--1990); by Louisa Fitzgerald Huber
Shang 商 --Western Zhou 周 dynasty, 12th--10th century BCE
Length 3.4 cm (1 5/16 in)
The dragon is fashioned from a curved piece of jade in such a way that the sides are partly visible when the figure is viewed en face, and the effect is therefore stereoscopic. The creature's finely shaped eye, surrounded by a shadow created by beveled depressions, accords with the large, angular spiral high on the back that is oriented on an opposing diagonal. The head--which is further described by a graceful bottle horn, a nose shaped as a perforated curlicue, and by a slightly open mouth--rests gently on a single paw. Stretched out behind, the tail turns sharply upward and curls to encompass an approximately circular perforation. An additional irregularly shaped cutout separates the jaw from the body and leg. The design is completed by a hooked crest projecting from behind the head. The stone is gray green with a light brown streak running vertically across the front of the dragon's face. The reverse is plain and its surface is concave.
Published: China Institute in America, Art Styles of Ancient Shang, from Private and Museum Collections (New York: China Institute, 1967), cat. 61.