VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Disc "pi"
A 19337
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The disc is of yellowish green jade with brown spots on one side. The usual hole in the centre is rather small. There are decorations on both sides. On one side one can see the simple motif that resembles the so-called "ru yi", a scepter symbolizing good luck and longevity. On the side with the brown spots, there is a simply carved dragon. The picture of the dragon is rather unsophisticated. Still, there is a dragon depicted in a plain design, with wide-open eyes, long nose and curled body. The simplicity of its depiction, together with the symbolic importance of the dragon in ancient China and with the ritual purpose of the disc "pi" carved from a valuable and precious jade, make this little object charming as well as highly meaningful.

History of the Object
Unknown

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Type
Other 
Materials
Jade 
Measurements
diametre 9 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 5th century ~ AD 7th century 
Creation date
5th Century -7th Century; Probably around the middle of the first millennium AD 
Function
Funeral ritual object. According to ancient scriptures, the discs called "pi" were used for worship of the heaven, or were given to the deceased as a protection against evil forces. 
Acquisition
Acquired by the museum in 1989. Purchase details are not known today. 
Copyright
The National Museum, Prague, Czech Republic 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State property, the Czech Republic 
Museum
National Museum; Nàprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures 
Credit line
Courtesy the National Museum-Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures 

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