Height: 10.8 cm, width: 9.2 cm,
thickness: 2.1 cm
Much of the greenish jade here has turned
white. The head and raised hands of this standing figurine appear similar to those of a
salamander. The head, looking up, is marked by prominent eyes, a pointed snout, and etched
lines behind. A long curving snake is carved in relief along the arms and front of the
chest. Spiraling forms protrude from the upper thighs like coiled snakes. The feet,
heel-to-heel, appear in a horizontal line. A hole was drilled from the back from one
shoulder to the other, and traces of drilling are still evident.
The salamander is an amphibian of which there are many species. The large newt belongs to
this category and is marked by a body 60 to 70 centimeters long. In Chinese, it is
commonly called a doll-fish or man-fish and found in northeast
China. This unusual jade figurine combines the features of a newt or a salamander with a
person and probably has some spiritual importance in primitive religion. It is said to
have been unearthed in Inner Mongolia. Such features as the quality of the jade, the
staining, and the etched lines are close to jades from the Hung-shan Culture.
The raised hands and the drilled hole are similar to a jade bear spirit in a
British collection. This piece reflects the style of primitive art in northeast Asia and
may be a relic from a people closely related to the Hung-shan Culture.