The Song dynasty, 960AD-1279AD, China, private collection from Finland.
The Song (aka Sung) dynasty ruled China (960AD to 1279AD). The Song dynasty was generally prosperous and at the time it was the world’s most powerful Empire economically, scientifically, and militarily. The reign split into two distinct periods: Northern Song ”Bei” (960-1127) and Southern Song ”Nan” (1127-1279). The Northern Song was based north of the Yangtze River and ruled a largely united China from their capital Kaifeng. The Southern Song refers to the period after the Song lost control of its northern half of the Jürchen-led Jin dynasty in the Jin-Song Wars.
China under the Song developed into a more modernised and industrialized nation. During the Song, technology was highly advanced in fields as diverse as agriculture, iron-working, and printing. Significant inventions or improvements on existing ideas included gunpowder, paper money, the magnetic compass etc. The invention of moveable type allowed for mass printings of documents and books.
The arts flourished under the Song dynasty. Poetry, literature, painting and the performing arts were popular. In the decorative arts the Song dynasty marked a high point in Chinese pottery.
The arc-shaped jade pendants is called "huang". These gorgeous arcs were originally a component parts of a set of pendants. The huang arcs were used in a jade Pei ornament set, which would be worn from the belt. The pendant set would emit a faint pleasant sound as the wearer walked, in line with the customs of Confucian etiquette. The number of huang arcs in a set of jade pendants varies. The huang arcs were manifestations of wealth and status, and were used as funerary items for deceased. Jade ornaments also functioned to protect and preserved the physical body.
This meticulously carved jade huang with detailed dragon heads at both ends is just mesmerizing. It is Song dynasty (960AD-1279AD) but in Zhou dynasty style. The dragon heads are carved with well-defined bulging eyes, prominent snouts and fierce expressions. The huang has narrow ridge and it is covered with raised spiral grain patterns on the both sides. On the top of the arc resting two phoenix birds with a pearl. The semi-translucent stone of pale celadon, white and russet tones. Excellent condition. Dirt, dust and soil. Size approx. 15,5cm x 4,5cm x 0,5cm.