News from Temixwten: First positively-identified Neolithic Asian ceramic tool found in North America!
|Temixwten Artifact: 45-WH-5-1476
Description: THIS EXCEPTIONALLY fine charm blade features the Dragon and the One-Eyed God with their good buddy, the domesticated horse, this time in finely detailed bas relief.
In the top photo, the One-Eyed God is again depicted with a full beard, as in 45-WH-5-1491.
Here the One-Eyed God's mouth is formed by a snake, as in 45-WH-5-1182. And here again, the One-Eyed God's nose is formed by a Chinese dragon / horse, repeating the Chinese dragon nose motif seen in 45-WH-5-1513 and 45-WH-5-1415 and especially 45-WH-5-1050.
The close-up of the dragon / horse (in the blowup photo at right) reveals it is actually TWO dragon / horse creatures, one with its head on top of the other, a figuration seen in many serpent pieces from Temixwten, such as 45-WH-5-1050 and 45-WH-5-1710 in this exhibit.
This can be interpreted many ways, but among other things it is possible that this piece depicts a bridled dragon copulating with a domesticated horse on the nose of god.
Here on 45-WH-5-1476, the top dragon is wearing a Neolithic Chinese macrame bridle -- which is seen on many horse pieces from Temixwten -- and a braided lead line. The bridling of the dragon is an old and powerful convention that persists today in the barbels commonly shown falling rein-like from each side of the dragon's nose. In fact (as the photo at right shows), Hongshan pig dragons were portrayed wearing bridles (perhaps as a retrofit?).
Compared to the loose, almost free-form knotted head net bridle shown in 45-WH-5-1491, the Chinese macrame bridle on 45-WH-5-1476 is much more systematic and formalized, and seems to feature a round metal ring on the check of the bridled dragon.
The macrame pattern here over the eye of the dragon / horse (in the blowup photo at right) is what's called in modern macrame a God's Eye, indicating where this ancient and ubiquitous macrame pattern may have gotten its name, so long ago that the Chinese can't remember where it came from!
This visible evolution in Chinese macrame suggests that hundreds of years passed between the time when 45-WH-5-1491 and this piece were made.
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THE ROCK utilized in this blade is veined with lighter colored rock, creating a natural diamond snakeskin pattern.
45-WH-5-1476 is both a charm and a utilitarian blade. Although chipped along the edge, this charm blade is still sharp.
Technology: Chiseling, sculpting
Approximate Age: 5,800 years years ago, or contemporary with the so-called Charles or St. Mungo Culture Phase, which marks the beginning of the Salish explosion across much of what we now call the Pacific Northwest.
Basis for Age Estimate: This subtle, accomplished and imaginative work shows the Chinese dragon / horse with the same sort of Neolithic Chinese macrame bridle seen in many of the early Chinese blades, but the macrame is much more orderly, and for the first time there appears to be a metal ring and some sort of fitting at the corner of the horse's mouth, suggesting at least the possibility of a bit.
The appearance of a domesticated horse wearing an advanced form of the archaic Neolithic knotted head net bridle -- with what appears to be a metal ring -- places this piece at the very dawn of the Bronze Age, before human technology had fully adjusted to the stupendous possibilities that hard metals brought, but before the introduction of the bit about 5,500 years ago.
I believe this piece may date to the early Dynastic Period in China -- perhaps the the Xia Dynasty -- approximately 5,800 years ago.
Provenance: Collected at Temixwten by the property owner. Museum of the Salish Collection.
God’s Eye: this charm features the One-Eyed God with a full beard, a mouth made by a snake, and a nose that is formed by a Chinese dragon/horse wearing a Neolithic Chinese macrame bridle with a metal ring. A macramed God’s Eye simultaneously covers the eye of the dragon/ horse and the eye of the One-Eyed God of Temixwten.
Bridled Pig Dragon: although most of the decoration is worn off, this Hongshan pig dragon was bridled with a nose band just above the slit mouth at right, and rein lines running back to the smaller hole. There is a yellow / white snake on the pig dragon’s head rrunning up to the point. The eye of the pig dragon is comprised to two concentric circles: a dim green circle and another around it. Over this spirals a dramatic, enclircling white dragon. All of these motifs -- the bridled dragon, the white snake on the head of the dragon, and the White Dragon forming the eye of god -- are found on many artifacts from Temixwten, the ancient Salish Indian village near Vancouver, BC., Canada, as are pig dragons.
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