Jade pendants in the form of stags

China, Western Zhou period, around 950 BC

These two animals are very similar; their only significant difference is that one has a closed loop attached to an antler, while the other has antlers that curve sharply to create holes for suspension.

Deer are relatively rare among jade animal pendants. However, a number of examples exist, among the most interesting of which is a crouching deer from a tomb dating to the Shang dynasty (about 1500-1050 BC). Its head is turned to look over its back and its front leg is bent under its body. This form seems to be an early one that was later ignored as creatures were usually shown standing. Such sophisticated poses were probably developed on the borders of China. Contact between the capitals of metropolitan China and the peoples on the western and north-western borders encouraged trade and exchange between two quite different cultures.

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Jade pendants in the form of stags

© 2003 Private Collection


More information


J. Rawson, Chinese jade: from the Neolith (London, The British Museum Press, 1995, reprinted 2002)


Height: 4.400 cm (max.)
Length: 3.200 cm

Museum number

On loan from a private collection OA 12:39


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