Western Zhou dynasty (1046-771 BC)
Length 35.5, Width 9 cm
Excavated at the Ying state tombs, Pingdingshan, Henan Province, 1990
This jade pendant is composed of a single ornamental plate of jade and eight strings of smaller ornaments. The plate is a trapezoid, made of green jade, and is decorated with a series of interlocking cloud patterns, with the overall scheme of the patterns producing an image of a dragon. The lower edge of the jade plate is pierced with ten holes, used to connect the strings of smaller ornaments. These eight strings are all of corresponding lengths and colours, and incorporate similar numbers of ornaments.
These series of jade pendants are variously referred to as quanpei (complete pendant)or a zapei (mixed pendant). Different pendants feature various primary elements, such as huang tablets, huan and bi disks, and heng pendants, with the additional use of beads and gems for the strings. These decorative ornaments follow strict regulations in determining their compositions, with various elaborate types that differ depending on the era. The earliest set of jade pendants to have been excavated date to the late Shang and early Zhou, with a revival during the two Zhou dynasties.
From the Han dynasty on, sets of jade pendants were preserved through their production for use as decorative ceremonial attire.