Period: Western Han (202 BCE--8CE)
Provenance: unearthed at Shangcunling, Sanmenxia, Henan, 1975
Measurements: 0.5 cm in thickness, 8.3 cm in diameter
Modelled in the form of a cake, embedded in a gilded bronze pallet, the stone of a celadon tone suffused with russet inclusion. A raised medallion on the center of the embedded jade “cake” was inscribed with patterns of swirl and cloud, encircled by five pomegranate-shaped embellishments with beast mask; the edge of the pallet was cast with convex-concave bird and animal motifs. Four knobs were cast on the back of the jade cake, supposed to be for hanging purposes.
From Qin and Han onward, ceremonial jades gradually waned, in comparison, the decorative jade articles thrived. Additionally, during the Han dynasty, with stable society and powerful national strength, the gilding and jade-embedding craftsmanship further improved, and was increasingly applied on many practical utensils apart from the ornaments. With intricate craftsmanship and the unique shape, this artifact is really a rare physical reference for studying the casting and carving craftsmanship of the Han Dynasty.