Little Green Men

  • See this auction: sold 12/20/2015 for $6.00 by yulin15117

Though in later years, the cicada became a widely used symbol, in prehistoric times in China, all insects were regarded as sacred. From sitting on top of skulls carved of jade and crystal, to gracing many a personal pendant, they were much loved and revered. The Hongshan people also were astute students of nature itself, and in may depictions there are bugs in their various phases of life cycle, from egg to larva to pupa, to adult.

See this auction: sold 12/22/2015 for $10.49 by utaoki511

The bugs that these strange characters are standing on could be any number of species, but they also could be stylized silk worm moth pupa, an insect that was more prized than any other for its ability to produce the best cloth in the world.  Hongshan art often exaggerates the eyes, filling much of the face and bulging outward.

Silkworm-pupae
Silk worm moth pupa

A different “Standing-On-Pupa” design:

  • See this auction: sold 12/22/2015 for $1.25 by utaoki511
  • Auction for same pendant design as previous, different seller: sold 1/6/2016 for $4.55 but seller is no longer a registered user since 03/2016 by yongfa18

Though these pendants are over 3,000 years old, they are being sold for less than $10 apiece? How is this possible?

Part of the reason is that people aren’t familiar enough with this prehistoric culture and don’t trust that these carvings are real, but part of the reason is that the market is completely saturated. But how is it that the Chinese have so many pendants to sell?

If they didn’t come from someone’s very important, they wouldn’t have been carved in such prolific numbers to begin with. There are many, many “sets” that are currently for sale on Ebay made from various materials. Some are made from quart crystal, some are made from a whitish stone that has cracked over time, some are the typical brown or green stone with whitish patina on the surface that often people associate with real Hongshan carvings, and some- like these- are made from “turquoise”. It comes in many colors- yellow, green, blue and red I’ve seen so far, and actually I believe that it is one of the world’s first man-made materials.

There is ample evidence that indicates the Hongshan people were able to melt quartz crystals to make other carvings (6,000 years ago!)- from skulls to figures that are over a foot tall and colored too. These “turquoise” pendants are probably melted rock too that has been colored, (at least that is my hypothesis).

Because these are made from a mixture of materials, each batch is slightly different, and to be able to say with certainty that the pendants were all made at the same time should be fairly easily accomplished because of this fact. They are unique in the world with their own mineral “signature” since they are man-made.

Also because they are made of melted rocks and come in a variety of very exciting colors hardly found in nature, they were probably more expensive to begin with. While the brown and green rocks found without effort in the rivers were for commoners, these were for the elite, particularly in the numbers that they are found in. Difficult to believe that anything “man-made” could be worth more than natural, but you must remember that this was the very first days of such before the world was full of trash and plastic bags, and these rocks they created and colored with their own hands were magical to them.

Keep in mind this is not a complete set by any means, but a few representatives out of the numerous designs. The characters are unique and specific, not just carved randomly, but representing real people probably. These characters may have held some position of authority or respect, and had them purposefully made and gave them away so that people might be loyal to them. Or it could be depictions of their ancestors that they revered? There are many, many questions about these people and their very important role in prehistory and the development of civilization- but undoubtedly they are poorly answered using pictures from Ebay.

I would hope that someone might be able to realize that a lot is being sold and basically given away before any scientists besides those bent upon their own agendas had a chance to look at any of it.  It is the world’s greatest archaeological stockpile of goods, and to sell all of it piece meal without giving out any information on it is a silent and horrific tragedy of humanity itself.

Search for “Hongshan” on Ebay

  • 4,501 on 12/20/2015 including 761 auctioned in 10 days (in the China Antiques subcategory)
  • 5,528 on 03/30/2016 including 563 auctioned in 10 days (in the China Antiques subcategory)
  • 8,730 on 04/22/2016 including 1,413 auctioned in 10 days (7,194 in the China Antiques subcategory and 1,264 being auctioned)
  • 8,756 on 05/03/2016 including 1,137 auctioned in 10 days
  • 9,659 on 05/19/2016 including 1,140 auctioned in 10 days
  • 9,622 on 06/20/2016 including 1,036 auctioned in 10 days
  • 10,088 on 07/14/2016 including 1,415 auctioned in 10 days
  • 10,169 on 07/25/2016 including 841 auctioned in 10 days
  • 10,511 on 08/09/2016 including 1,144 auctioned in 10 days
  • 10,211 on 08/27/2016 including 1,074 auctioned in 10 days
  • 10,886 on 09/14/2016 including 979 auctioned in 10 days
  • 11,239 on 09/23/2016 including 1,031 auctioned in 10 days
  • 11,417 on 10/08/2016 including 1,251 auctioned in 10 days
  • 11,816 on 11/19/2016 including 1,062 auctioned in 10 days
  • 11,774 on 12/04/2016 including 896 auctioned in 10 days
  • 12,733 on 01/17/2017 including 516 auctioned in 10 days (week of Chinese New Year)
  • 12,570 on 02/14/2017 including 730 auctioned in 10 days
  • 13,697 on 02/28/2017 including 834 auctioned in 10 days
  • 12,380 on 04/26/2017 including 826 auctioned in 10 days
  • 13,541 on 06/17/2017 including 1,275 auctioned in 10 days
  • 14,088 on 07/07/2017 including 1,154 auctioned in 10 days

Another “Standing-On-Pupa”design:

  • Buy It Now page, pendant design same as previous, same seller as previously listed (was $9.99- price reduced to $8.79 prior to 08/2016) by yulin15117
  • Buy It Now page, pendant design same as previous, different seller($9.99, relisted again at $7.99): no longer a registered user when checked back 08/2016 by 2106789
  • Buy It Now page, pendant design same as previous, same seller as previous ($9.99, relisted again at $7.99): no longer a registered user when checked back 08/2016 by 2106789

And yet another different design with another character standing on the bug:

And another different character:

standingonpupaaa

And another:


roundmanua

This is the classic Hongshan “pig dragon” which I think is better termed as “Round Man”.  To refer to it as a pig, and as a dragon I think is a complete misnomer- and almost offensive- considering these terms are very, very Chinese, while the Hongshan people were not Han (modern) Chinese at all. There weren’t even any dragons yet- for they were still dogs- and it is questionable the pig was domesticated by then.

roundmanva

  • Buy It Now page: no sale 1/6/2016 at $3.99, relisted again at $8.99: sold 08/14/2016 for $6.98 by 518*curio: no longer a registered user when checked back 04/2017

roundmantwoda

  • See this auction : no sale 01/28/2016 at $4.77, relisted again and no sale 02/23/2016 at $4.77, relisted again and sold 03/07/2016 for $4.02 by 518*curio: no longer a registered user when checked back 04/2017

roundmantwopa

roundmantwoqa

skulltwomb

  • 776 grams Buy It Now page ($68.00): unclear if sold or? by gemshow88

skulltwoza

birdonheadka

  • 1040 grams Buy It Now page ($73.00): sold 08/2016 by gemshow88

Items currently listed on Ebay using the search term “Hongshan turquoise“:

  • 341 on 1/4/2016 including 98 auctioned in 10 days (mainly this green color and a red flecked with brown or grey color, not blue)
  • 260 on 1/25/2016 including 32 auctioned in 10 days
  • 240 on 03/30/2016 including 28 auctioned in 10 days
  • 376 on 05/04/2016 including 93 auctioned in 10 days (mainly blue color, at least two different “sets”, very few green pieces)
  • 434 on 06/20/2016 including 175 auctioned in 10 days (mainly blue color)
  • 312 on 07/14/2016 including 57 auctioned in 10 days (mainly blue color)
  • 259 on 07/25/2016 including 22 auctioned in 10 days (mainly blue color)
  • 267 on 08/09/2016 including 51 auctioned in 10 days (mainly blue color)
  • 259 on 08/27/2016 including 58 auctioned in 10 days (mainly green color)
  • 272 on 10/08/2016 including 56 auctioned in 10 days (about half green and half blue)
  • 230 on 11/19/2016 including 47 auctioned in 10 days (about half green and half blue)
  • 206 on 12/04/2016 including 35 auctioned in 10 days (red, blue and green with newer beads)
  • 191 on 01/17/2017 including 19 auctioned in 10 days (slightly more blue than green)
  • 176 on 02/14/2017 including 19 auctioned in 10 days (red, blue and green)
  • 207 on 02/28/2017 including 21 auctioned in 10 days
  • 189 on 04/26/2017 including 49 auctioned in 10 days (mainly green)
  • 253 on 06/17/2017 including 43 auctioned in 10 days
  • 263 on 07/07/2017 including 36 auctioned in 10 days
roundmanaa
Malachite Hongshan C-dragon or pig dragon

Of what exactly all this Hongshan “turquoise” is made out of is uncertain, but the various colors could be related to various ores. The little green men above might be made from smelted malachite- of which the Hongshan people also made many raw carvings of, and perhaps the red “turquoise” is from cinnabar, but not sure what the blue might be made from or a yellow I also have seen. It is a colored stone throughout though, not just superficially dyed.

I put a piece of the green “turquoise” in my window, and it turned colors over time (a few months) to a turquoise color that matched the color of other “turquoise” Hongshan pieces.

turquoisehongshanaa

There are two different formulas for producing Tibetan “turquoise”- on the left is are blue pieces that arrived this way- one arrived broken and blue throughout – on the right are green- but when exposed to sunlight, they become blue. The blue skull on the left started out as green as the other before I put it next to a window. Either freshly made or freshly dug up from the grave where they were well wrapped are these green carvings labeled “Hongshan culture” which in fact could be modern times in the backwoods of Sichuan for all we know. The material for both is probably a synthetic stone made by melting rock- not at all natural in either case. People just think its fake, but it’s really a marvel of ingenuity passed down through many generations.

This is an example of a green “turquoise” Hongshan pendant that is just starting to turn color to blue. You can see the remnants of the deeper shade of green around the eyes and interior of the holes.

roundmanthreeoa

  • See this auction: no sale 09/03/2016 at $5.00 minimum by pengyao.2521: no longer a registered Ebay user when checked back 04/2017
  • Another auction, different photo, different seller: no sale 09/20/2016 at $5.00 minimum by wangxiaohu666-4: no longer a registered Ebay user when checked back 04/2017
  • Another auction, different photo, different seller: sold 10/10/2016 for $1.28 by luoshixian6352
  • Buy It Now page, different photo, different seller ($19.99) by hk.2544
birdonheadba
Blue “turquoise” which actually appears to be melted rock, not a natural stone nor dyed

standingonroundmanaa

  • 4.8 lbs (2.2 kg) Buy It Now page (was $179.10, price raised to $199.00 by 12/2016) by international-store88
  • Another Buy It Now page, same photo, different seller (was $198.00, price increased to $240.00 by 12/2016) by yiwen-antiqueshop: no longer a registered Ebay user when checked back 04/2017

This man looks exactly like the “Standing-on-Pupa” fellow depicted previously in smaller size and (still) green. He may depict a real life person whose effigy was meant to travel into the afterlife with him, and perhaps tell of his greatness to others. This statue may have started out a green color, but has changed color to turquoise with exposure to sunlight. He is standing on a C-dragon or pig dragon like the one seen below.

Because he is rather unique and large, it is highly likely all the antique sellers using the same photo to sell the turquoise statue are the exact same shop using different aliases.

cdragonfa
C-Dragon or Pig Dragon attributed to the Hongshan culture, but maybe from Sichuan or Tibet- made from melted rocks that were then carved

Though Chinese sellers often call this red stone “jixue” which is Chicken blood stone (Balin), this is probably not true and has just been lumped into this category because there is nothing that is known about it. True Chicken blood stone can only be found in Changhua Town near Hangzhou and Balin in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and is naturally occurring. Chicken blood stone tends to have more orange colors and streaks to it, and also polishes to a high shine, unlike this red stone which is being called that. I believe this is another form of melted synthetic stone which has a high content of cinnabar, not naturally occurring.

Part of the reason I believe it is melted stone is because of the variation in the colors in the stone that aren’t red, some are grey while some are browner, and some seem to have a higher content of the filler stone than others which have hardly any. The red c-dragon above has another stone mixed in that is grey in color, but seemingly well mixed with only sparse marbling of the color. The stone below also has grey stone, but is less well mixed together with more streaks. It is also directly from a tomb as you can see by the amount of dirt still on it.

Though it is thought the Hongshan people were from Northern China and only existed for a couple thousand years, there is ample evidence that the culture also was in southern China and Tibet, and continued to exist up to the time when Communist Chinese took over. The Hongshan culture and the ancient Tibetan Bon religion may also be one and the same, with newer Buddhist beliefs being incorporated into existing ancient belief systems that never were really given up.

Many of the pieces that are labeled Hongshan and neolithic aren’t fakes, but they aren’t necessarily 3,000 years old or more since the culture and traditions continued possibly up to the present day in Sichuan and Tibet.

beautybeastandbuddhaaa
Author’s own collection of supposed “Hongshan” culture statues along side a Buddha head made of the same material purchased from the same group of people. Although the Buddha head is possibly far newer, it does show a continuum of technology between the two being made from the same synthetic red turquoise Tibetans still wear to this day. Also it is suspected that either Buddhism was introduced at an earlier date than just 1300 years ago in Tibet or 206 BC in China, or the Hongshan Culture may have much longer than just 4,000 years ago. It may be a combination of both, and really this is why archaeological evidence like this should be professionally excavated instead of just being wholesaled without provenance. If you ask too many questions the sellers block you from buying any more items which is also a real clue that these people are not just selling fakes.

 

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