Thursday, April 23, 2015


Is this a Pig or a Dragon ? That is the question whether its a celestial dragon or a plebian pig....puzzles the  mind and makes us fly to wild theories ...:))

Pig or Dragon?

The experts says both hence Zhulong  as  Zhu=Pig and Long=Dragon. An unlikely marriage if you ask me. How a celestial mythical dragon became married to a plebian pig  baffles the brain but according to Wikipedia :
A pig dragon or zhūlóng (Chineset 豬龍, s 猪龙) is a type of jade artifact from Neolithic China. Pig dragons are zoomorphic forms with a pig-like head and elongated limbless body coiled around to the head and described as "suggestively fetal". Early pig dragons are thick and stubby, and later examples have more graceful, snakelike bodies.

8 Zhulongs

Zhulongs are  hallmarks of the Neolithic Hongshan Culture (c. 4000–3000 bce) and are normally large imposing figures so I can't account for why my lot of 8 zhulongs  is so mini. Are they genuine artifacts or replicas is another unanswerable question. The only  examples of small size zhulongs that I have seen are documented in the book Language of Adornment by Filippo Salviati who showed 2 examples of mini zhulongs measuring 1.6cm x 2.2cm and another 3cm x 4 cm which are still larger than my pieces. 
 In the picture below my largest zhulong measures only 1.9 x1.6 cm   and  1.5 x1.3 cm for the smallest. All have uncut central perforations and of the 8 only 1 has a stringing hole. They also show the Hongshan characteristics of large heavy lidded  pop out eyes, curled up body, fly back ears and nose creases.

8 baby zhulongs
Four of the zhulongs are made from calcite
Calcite zhulongs

One of the calcite zhulongs is badly corroded on one side.
badly corroded on one side

Here are the rest of the zhulongs in nephrite jade.
Jade zhulongs

2 of the zhulongs are chewing on some ancient quartz. I know this quartz in a hole on ancient jade has been debunked by experts as  ploys to fake authenticity. But on these two it looks pretty natural
Zhulong chewing on quartz

 Although diminutive in size they still exhibit the essence of zhulongism especially that inimitable  expression of "the grimacing sneering look" as described by some writers. At the same time their smallness and coiled body makes them look less like some fearsome beast but more like a cuddly amulet ! (depends how you look at them) or even a panda.
Grimacing but cuddly !

According to some sources, zhulongs are recorded as being made "as late as the Shang dynasty..." around 1600-1050 BCE and I cherish hopes that mine may be Shang creations  which is still an immortal 3,000 (more or less) years ago.

immortal in terms of age!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

Favourite Books

  • Theft : a love story
  • The Uncommon Reader
  • The Silent Patient
  • Never Let me go
  • Angela's Angels
  • Where angels fear to tread