Monday, August 24, 2015

Trapezoidal Jade Bead with Phoenix Pattern

Here is a very special bead that I purchased recently.

Trapezoid Jade Bead with incised phoenix

This trapezoidal bead, measuring 2cm long and 1.5cm wide   at the base, has an image of  a phoenix incised  on both sides.
Close up
The phoenix decoration on my bead bears resemblance to those seen on various jade ornaments from the Xizhou dynasty (1027-771BC)  According to the publication Chinese Civilization in a New Light * the phoenix was regarded as  harbingers of good fortune. There is a legend that during the reign of King Wen the sound of phoenixes pierced the hills of his kingdom and  this was interpreted as an auspicious sign for the Xizhou dynasty. Arising from this legend, phoenix patterns on jade ornaments became very popular during this period. (see extract below)

about the legend of the phoenix

The book Xizhou Yu qi Jades of the Xizhou dynasty shows several examples of similar phoenix patterns carved on plaques, bis, peis, and jues. Most of these ornaments are of jade with three of glass.  Over at the Shanxxi Taiyuan Museum there is a jade jue with incised phoenix on display attributed to  Xizhou. All these are large items as compared to the one I show.

I am thrilled with the double bonus of owning this mystical bird on a bead and using it as a centerpiece to compose my dream bracelet! Teamed with my red Xizhou carnelian disc beads and three contrasting turquoise disc beads of the same period .....feels great to have a bit of history/art on my wrist.:)

My dream bracelet
a little bit of history....a little bit of art....

*Chinese Civilization in a New Light. ISBN7-5326-0834-4

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  • Theft : a love story
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  • Never Let me go
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