Saturday, November 21, 2015

Er Dang or Ear Ornaments from the Han Dynasty

This 2 pairs of dog bone shaped beads came from a Shenzhen dealer.

Dog bone shaped beads
They are likely to be ear ornaments from the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)
Used as ear ornaments or er dangs

The crystal pair is   2 - 2.3cm high.

Crystal ear ornaments

The red pair is either made from carnelian or glass imitating carnelian and measures 2 - 2.2cm

Glass or carnelian ?

I have come across examples of such er dang earrings displayed and documented in the Ningbo History Museum in Zhejiang Province.

glass and agate ear ornaments at the Ningbo History Museum

Describes the er dangs as imported goods.

The display also has an accompanying note describing such ornaments as "imported goods" which came by sea. Unfortunately the display  did not elaborate or give further details. It left me wondering what other early cultures used these similar ornaments and how did it spread into China as  I was under the impression that er dangs were native to China.

As an aside the Ningbo  History Museum which housed the display is one cool building which resonates with "place and memory".  Its fa├žade  is constructed from rubble and recycled bricks that were salvaged from previous disasters. It won the 2012 Pritzker Prize  one the world's highest honors in architecture. The Museum is an exhibit and art in itself  - a  fitting place to showcase the ancient treasures  China.

 Ningbo History Museum is a building that  "resonates with place and memory"

See also my post  An Ornament from the Past which is on similar ear ornaments from the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD)

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