Green jade pendant with eagle grasping a human face
Longshan Neolithic culture (c.5,000-4,000 years ago)
Height 6.9 cm, Width 4.7 cm
Made of green jade, the front face of this pendant features an upright eagle with its wings outstretched in a combination of openwork and incised carving. The eagle’s claws are connected to a human face and there is an animal mask in the lowest portion of the image, both of which are in light relief carving.
Textual records and mythology indicate that the clans of Longshan culture of Shandong worshipped birds. This jade ornament possibly imbued the early people of Shandong’s Longshan culture with the ferocious, vital strength of the eagle for use in vanquishing their enemies. It may also have been a clan insignia that formed a totemic focus for worship. This jade ornament is not simply a masterpiece of Jade ware from Shandong’s Longshan culture, it is also material evidence of the worship of bird totems by the Eastern Yi people. CAO PING