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Jade Dragon Ornament

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Period: Warring States Period (475-222 BCE)
Date: undated
Dimensions: length: 21.4 cm, width: 10.9 cm, thickness: 0.9 cm

The jade is bluish green in colour with light grey and brown mottles. The dragon-shaped flat ornament is carved on both sides with the same designs. With its mouth open and head turned back, the dragon is wholly covered with cereal designs and with a phoenix perched on the tail. A small bird is carved in relief on both sides of the head and on the tail. There is a circular hole on the body of the dragon. The ornament was unearthed in 1977 from a Warring States tomb in Yanggong Township, Changfeng County, Anhui Province, one in a group of tombs of the state of Chu of the late Warring States period, only about 20 kilometers from Shouchun, the capital city of the state of Chu. Two ornaments of the same form were uncovered at the same time. As they were placed on either side of dead man's pelvic bone, they must be part of a set of jade ornaments worn by the owner of the tomb. The styling of the ornament is particular to that of the dragon and phoenix ornaments of the Warring States period. It is carved in an exaggerated style with fine designs on it. The lines and curves form the dragon and phoenix into a united whole and embody the sculptor's rich imagination. A beautiful and almost perfectly preserved ornament like this is rare. It shows the elevated status of the owner of the tomb.

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