Migrant paths became trade routes with time and by the fourth millennium B.C., there were trading posts or caravanserai operating in certain places along the roads that the caravans followed. Migration also continued to follow those roads to greener pastures and more fertile land to farm. From pigs to camels, different varieties of sheep and goats, even the horse and of course the dog were part of the entourage of a migrant clan leader. Ancient Sousiana in Persia was one of those hubs of human movement and socio-economic exchange.
By about 3,000 B.C. there were people in that area that spoke a language related to the pre-Anglo-Saxon language of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Asia Minor, Galicia and part of France, the old Celtic root. The speakers of this now dead or dying branch of this Indo-European language group did not show up only in the historical record in Europe. The Tocharians from Susiana in Persia spoke a version of this same Celtic language in Persia and in the place they migrated to: northwestern China. Also to be noted is that the Indo part of the Indo-European (at this point, really Indo-Aryan) language group was spoken in the Indus Valley by this time.
But what has this to do with dragon symbols? We will focus on the dispersal of the dragon symbol in Greater Persia and Northwestern China. There is a connection of similar uses of the dragon symbol in ancient Susiana (Elam, Gutin) and the area of China that is just over the Himalayas in northwestern China.
To recap a bit here: Susiana was located near the Persian Gulf where Syria and Iraq join Greater Persia which stretched from central Turkey to the western side of the Himalayas. The trade routes are known because long stretches of them are still in use. I have traveled along some of them. A small sketch here of how the roads developed into the Silk Road(s) in the last millennium B.C. :
Tashkorgan, the first landing of those migrants or traders over the high mountain passes from the west (Persia) or south (Indus Valley), was one of the world's busiest market places. Goods were exchanged there to be passed along by resident or traveling merchants to the remainder of China, Mongolia and other parts of the East. Merchants had come from the other end of the route to Tashkorgan to make the exchanges and take the newly acquired goods to sell along the remainder of the route.
Beads or raw stones to make beads and other ornaments were very important items of trade. They were portable enough that they could be used as 'money.' The eastern side of the Himalayas actually have ancient jade 'coins' with an assigned value. Agate, quartz, jade and lapis lazuli were the prized gemstones of the area. They were carried as far as Egypt from their source in what are now Iran and Afghanistan. It is from that very area that the beads in the photograph below originate. They are probably from about 1,500 B.C. The brown banded agate bead was highly prized at this time.
Ancient Brown Banded Agates from proto-Iranian Civilization
The pig images at the bottom of this amulet coin show the honored animal in the Neolithic Hongshan culture that lasted until about 3,000 B.C. At about that time, the pig gradually became a dragon with a pig's head. This jade coin is a modern interpretation of that cultural development. At the bottom are the pigs, then the dragon and finally the victorious phoenix, of which we will see more in these blog posts.
As mentioned above, from some other influence, by about 3,000 B.C., the people on the eastern side of the Himalayas had adopted the dragon, and their amulet became a symbol much like the Iranian one above. A circle of two dragons or entwined dragons with pig-like features, or like this single one that shows the mixed symbolism of pig-dragon: