Plaque with hybrid bird-dragon creature

Historical period(s)
Spring and Autumn period, Eastern Zhou dynasty, 8th-5th century BCE
Gold foil
H x W: 8.9 x 13 cm (3 1/2 x 5 1/8 in)
China, Xinzheng or Henan province
Credit Line
Gift of The Honorable and Mrs. Hugh Scott
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork


bird, China, dragon, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE)
Provenance research underway.

The single curving body of this hybrid creature supports both a phoenix head and a dragon head (now missing its horn). The plaque's use is unclear. Originally attached to a backing, probably made of bronze, it may have served as an architectural decoration. During the Eastern Zhou dynasty, gold was so highly valued that anyone caught trying to obtain it without state permission could be executed.

Published References
  • Jenny F. So. Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. Ancient Chinese Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. 3 New York, 1995. p. 24, fig. 18.
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Art of the Warring States Period: Change and Continuity, 480-222 B.C. Washington, 1982-1983. cat. 22, p. 61.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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