Introduction|Selections|Decoration|Home
                                                  'Perpetual Happiness' Disc
n Neolithic Period to the Hsia Dynasty (ca. 6000-1600 B.C.)
n Figure
n Salamander-Human
n Disc
n Shang Dynasty to the Western Chou (ca. 1600-771 B.C.)
n Pendant with Human and Dragon Motifs
n Pair of Rams
n Boar
n Eastern Chou to the Han Dynasty  (770 B.C. to A.D. 220)
n Tiger Pendant
n Figure(ca.14-87B.C)
n Double Dragon Pendant from Ch'in
n Bronze Knife with Jade Handle and Hilt
n "Perpetual Happiness" Disc

'Perpetual Happiness' Disc


Outer diameter: 16.2 cm, 
hole diameter: 3.75 cm, 
thickness: 0.65 cm

        Carved from opaque white and grey jade, the design on either side of this piece are the same. The design is composed of two concentric bands of designs around the hole. The inner band is done in openwork with two characters above and two below. The ones above read “ch’ang-lo” (perpetual happiness) and those below “wei-yang” (never-ending). To either side of the characters are a dragon and tiger design also done in openwork. The head of the dragon is shown in profile, and it has wings and scales. The head of the tiger is shown in frontal view, and even the fur is evident. The outer band is decorated in low relief with the four spirit animals known as the “blue dragon,” “white tiger,” “red phoenix,” and “black hsuan-wu (serpent and turtle).” The design on the other is almost identical, except for the starting point of the “blue dragon.” In front of the mouths of the “blue dragon” and “red phoenix” on front side are symbols of the sun, while near the tail of the “white tiger” is a symbol of the moon. The three of them are evenly arranged on the surface. This disc may have been used as a form of tribute.

       At present, there are more than ten Eastern Han style discs that have images of spirit animals either carved in relief or in openwork. At least ten of them have auspicious characters, and the dragon and tiger are the two spirit animals most commonly seen. Some also bear all four spirit animals, but only with a short small dragon (representing a serpent) or a turtle to represent the hsuan-wu combination of the serpent and turtle--but with no characters. Only this beautiful disc has not only two two-character combinations but also the full pairing of turtle and serpent to represent hsuan-wu. The carving and design are also exceptionally fine, making this a remarkable jade.

UP