1600-1700 (made)


Diameter: 7.9 cm, Thickness: 1.0 cm

FE.31-1973 EAS

Ming small bi with raised boss pattern

Light green with black markings, moderate surface polish. Studs on both sides against cross-grid ground. Ring borders at central perforation and outer edge slightly raised. Studs larger than most but of irregular sizes. Cut from a rather thick, flat section of stone with a relatively small perforation in the centre, the sides and central hole finished square. The main surfaces are decorated with a regular field of raised, rounded bosses on a sunken ground, arranged in rows cut originally in three directions; narrow borders sloping up to the inner and outer edges are delineated by an incised line.

The production of jade discs started in Neolithic times in China and continued until the 19th century. The earlier discs are usually without carved patterns. Later ones were sometimes worn as pendants. Jade discs came in all sorts of sizes. Chinese philologists habitually made a distinction between a disc with a small central hole, known as a 'bi', and one with a large central hole, known as a 'huan'. This disc would have been considered a 'bi'.

Percy D. Krolik collection, bought

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website