This rectangular ornament is carved on one side with a pair of vigorous feline-faced 'chi' dragons. The beasts writhe about, forming a graceful 'S'. The feline-faced creatures with tails that look like twisted bands are characteristic features of late-Han jade. The 'chi' dragon is defined as a 'young dragon of yellow colour' in the first Chinese dictionary, 'Shuo Wen Jie Zi' compiled in the 2nd century CE. This beast also appears on other jade ornaments such as small discs. Some scholars suggest a lizard, such as a gekko, may have been its inspiration.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, January 2012
Rectangular bead ornamented with dragon motif
Place where the work was made
Han dynasty 206 BCE - 220 CE → China
6.6 x 2.1 x 1.1 cm
Gift of Mary and Henry Fung 2007