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Jade Seal with Characters Reading “Empress
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Engraved with the precious white “mutton fat jade” from Khotan (Hetian), modern Xinjiang Province, this seal bears a tiger-shaped knob and a square facet with carved cloud designs on four sides. The facet is caved with four Seal Style characters “Hung Hou Zhi Xi” (Empress’ Seal) in intaglio. According to The Old Rites of the Han Dynasty, the “Empress" jade seal bears the same characters as that of the Emperor. The Empress’ seal has a gold tiger-shaped knob. The shape and characters on this seal fit with the records. It was unearthed nearby the joint mausoleum of Empress Lu and Gaozu and probably was one of the belongings of Empress Lu. It is the only surviving example of material evidence for the study of the Empress’ seal of the Han Dynasty.

History of the Object
Liu Bang became the founding emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE) of the Liu family which lasted more than 200 years. He inherited a great deal of the central imperial system of the Qin. Liu Bang declared himself to be Han Emperor the Exalted - Han Gaozhu. After Gaozhu’s death, his Empress Lu ruled over a number of weak young emperors and for 17 years was the first de facto female Emperor in Chinese history.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Jade 
Measurements
Width 2 cm. Length 2.8 cm.  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
BCE 3rd century ~ BCE 1st century 
Creation date
BCE; 3rd Century BCE - 1st Century; Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 25 AD) 
Function
Official seal of Empress Lu 
Acquisition
Excavated in 1968 from Langjiagou village, Xianyang City. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Shaanxi History Museum 
Museum
Shaanxi History Museum 
Credit line
 

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