GALLERY HOURS
tUESDAY-SATURDAY 11-5

T. 212.223.1059 F.212.223.1937
INFO@THROCKMORTON-NYC.COM

THROCKMORTON FINE ART
145 EAST 57th STREET,

3RD FLOOR
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10022


MYTHICAL BEASTS

THE DIVINITY OF DRAGONS

March 2nd - April 22nd, 2017


Throckmorton Fine Art is pleased to announce our Asia week exhibition, Mythical Beasts: The Divinity of Dragons, the finest collection of jade dragons representing the art of early China. Emerging out of the northern boundaries of today’s China, the dragon eventually predominated as the mark par excellence of heavenly favor. Wearing or suspending a jade pendant in the shape of a dragon was believed to inoculate the owner with some of the dragon’s positive energy.

In one of three essays commissioned for the catalog accompanying the exhibition, DRAGON LORE IN EARLY CHINA, art scholar and author John S. Major, says, “Neolithic and Bronze Age vessels of pottery, jade, bronze, and other durable media, as well as articles of personal adornment, frequently display images of fanciful reptilian creatures that scholars groups under the capacious rubric “dragons.” While characteristically endowed with serpentine bodies (with or without legs), some examples have humanoid heads (often with horns), others have zoomorphic heads with gaping mouths and, sometimes, crests. For the early period, before the emergence of written documents, attempts to classify dragon images and understand their meaning necessarily involve an element of speculation. One can say with fair certainty, however, that these figures are not renderings of actual living creatures (such as crocodiles or pythons). Rather, they were from the beginning symbolic devices, probably best understood as visualizations of natural powers.”

Additional essays include Elizabeth Childs-Johnson’s JADE DRAGONS AND DRAGON ORIGINS and Fang Gu’s THE EVOLUTION OF DRAGON DECORATIVE PATTERNS from the Eastern Zhou to the Han Period.

This auspicious mythical animal with serpentine body, known under the header ‘dragon (long and qiu)’ first appears during the Jade Age and continues to dominate Chinese art of all later and modern periods. Loved and admired for its mythical properties of auspiciousness and fertility, this enduring symbol of Chinese culture is best represented in the art of jade from the Late Neolithic (the Jade Age) through Han eras, from ca. 3500 BCE through the 3rd century CE.”

The positive energy of Chinese dragons is represented in a miraculous variety of sinuous forms from the Hongshan cultural period through Shang, Western and Eastern Zhou, and later Han eras. The Hongshan dragon is envisioned initially in the shape of a thick curling C-shape with large head and bulbous ears. By the Shang and Western Zhou eras, the dragon coils and snakes, represented usually in profile and often with an animal mask or feline head and a body filled with scales. Heads may turn or revert and lissome bodies may rest on paws, and tails extend in an agile and supple piece of calligraphic design. The dragon art of Eastern Zhou and Han periods climax in an extravagant display of multitudinous variations of intertwining bodies texturally distinguished by feathers, cloud scrolls, scales or granulation. The rich and lavishly represented collection of the exhibition promises to be enjoyable and intellectually enriching. 

Press Release

THROCKMORTON FINE ART IS PLEASED TO PRESENT