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Celadon Jade Ji (Hairpin) Carved with Coiled Dragon
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2021.01.08 09:35:36 Views:


Measurements: L.16.2 cm
Period: The Spring and Autumn period (770---403 BCE)
Provenance: Unearthed in Xichuan county, Nanyang city, Henan, 1978


Of cylindrical form,made of jade with a glossy and translucent tone, the hairpin and its “cap” are incised with Yunlei and cord patterns in bas-relief. Ji (haipin), was used to clasp the hair or secure the cap in ancient China, and was named Zan in later generations, mostly used by women, whilst men used it not only to clasp the hair but also to secure the cap. 


The jade hairpin appeared as early as in the Neolithic Age, a great progress was made in the craftsmanship of jade hairpin during the Shang dynasty, one example with design of a kui-dragon head discovered from Fu Hao’s tomb at Yin ruins in Anyang city is a representative piece of the Shang dynasty, and thereafter through Song dynasty, few examples had not been made, without much difference in the shapes. From the Han dynasty, the heads of jade hairpin were largely embellished while the cylindrical body remained plain. During the Song dynasty, the carvings on the jade hairpins became finer, in most cases with enlarged patterns of birds , animals, flowers, and plants on the head. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, jade hairpins were exquisitely crafted with an increase in quantity, and gradually became a necessity in daily life.