One of the most intriguing Chinese Neolithic jade culture is that of the so called Hongshan period (3500 to 2000 BCE) considered by many as the source from which the later jade cultures of the Liangzhu period and of the Yellow River Dynasties took many of their inspirations.
The Hongshan Culture itself is the successor of much older Neolithic Cultures such as the Xinglongwa ( 5000 BCE), Zhaobaogou (4500 BCE) and Chahai (4000 BCE) ones which blossomed in what is now the Liaoning Province of the North East China and the eastern areas of Inner Mongolia.
First Hongshan jade surface finds occurred in the early 70’s and mainly by chance. More systematic archeological excavations were carried out between 1983 and 1985 at the Mangniu River site near Niuheliang in the Liaoning Province and revealed an extensive temple site with sophisticated earth walled structures with plaster facing showing pigs and dogs and many shallow and deep tombs. In this temple area fragments of sculptures of the emblematic pig dragons, in low fired clay, where found. Excavations of still older Xinglongwa urban sites revealed that people were buried in tombs located inside domestic houses and that entire pigs where interred with the remains of the deceased indicating the particular status this animal had then and the local successor cultures.
Jade seems to have had a particular role and position in the Hongshan Cultures as it is the principal and often the sole type of burial good. All the types of jades appear to have been of decorative nature either being worn directly on the body or sewed onto cloths or attached to wooden utensils. Essentially no jade artifacts were found in excavations of houses indicating the important symbolic value of them. The jades found have a variable surface finish. Some of the seem to have been hastily shaped and worked, just for the burial, whereas others are highly polished and show traces of wear indicating that many generations have worn them before they were laid into the grave of either the last owner or of a particular important member of the family or tribe.
Also would like to thank my friend:
for some amazing jade artifacts.