Hongshan Culture (3500 BCE– 2200 BCE)

Dated back five to six thousand years and last for more than one thousand years, covered the areas of southeastern of Inner Mongolia and western Liaoning Province of China, Hongshan Culture has derived its name from the Hongshan Mountain of Chifon inside the Mongolia Autonomy. The shapes of the jades in Hongshan Culture are abundant. In addition to most popular shapes like C- dragon and pig dragon, there are jade bi, tri-bi, eagle, bird, cicada, axe, knife, bracelet, hair hoop, fish, figurine and many others. Hongshan Culture is in the prime time of matrilineal descent society. As a result, the contents of many 1257047577989Hongshan Culture jade artifacts are derived from birds and animals of which the form designs carry female supple nature. Although the main mediums of the Hongshan Culture jade are serpentine, many Hongshan Culture artifacts are made of nephrite.

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Artisans from the Hongshan Culture emphasized the shape of an object rather than details of lines or motifs. In addition to single entity designs, many Hongshan Culture jades have complex design from different entity. For example, there are jade knifes with dragon and phoenix handle, jade knife with horse head handle. Among these complex structure designs, the eagle standing on the god’s head is believed to be origin of the eagle standing on the bear statue of the later period such as the hero double cylinder set in the Han Dynasty. Dual holes called holes of bugle shape on the same side of the artifacts are usually seen but its implication still remains unknown.  The dragon and phoenix motifs of Hongshan Culture are believed the origins of those motifs for later periods in the Chinese jade artifact’s history.