Height: 4.400 cm
Length: 3.200 cm
On loan from a private collection OA 12:39
Room 33b: Chinese jade
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.
J. Rawson, Chinese jade: from the Neolith (London, The British Museum Press, 1995, reprinted 2002)