Disk (bi) with knobs, feline and dragon

Historical period(s)
Eastern Han dynasty, 100-220
Jade (nephrite)
H x W x D: 22 x 15.2 x 0.7 cm (8 11/16 x 6 x 1/4 in) Diam (hole): 2.6 cm (1 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 19: Afterlife: Ancient Chinese Jades
Ceremonial Object, Jade

Ceremonial object: disk (bi)

China, dragon, Eastern Han dynasty (25 - 220), nephrite

To 1916
Lai-Yuan and Company, New York, to 1916 [1]

From 1916 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Lai-Yuan and Company in 1916 [2]

From 1920
The Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Miscellaneous List, S.I. 892, pg. 196, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Lai-Yuan & Company (C.L. Freer source) ca. 1915-April 1921


The elaborate openwork design of a dragon in sweeping curves resembling clouds and a feline with a twisted body in profile suggests a narrative and setting that extend beyond pure decoration. Disks such as this, created from pale green nephrite of exceptional quality, are extremely rare and have been found only in royal tombs.

Published References
  • Alfred Salmony. Carved Jade of Ancient China. Berkeley, 1938. pl. 64, no. 1.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 33.
  • Christine Minter-Dowd. Finders' Guide to Decorative Arts in the Smithsonian Institution. Finders' Guide to Work in the Smithsonian Institution Washington, 1983-1984. p. 39.
  • Hai wai i chen (Chinese Art in Overseas Collections). Taipei, 1985. p. 74.
  • Thomas Lawton. China's Artistic Legacy. vol. 118, no. 258 London, August 1983. p. 135.
  • Thomas Lawton Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 229, fig. 162.
  • Jessica Rawson. Chinese Jades from the Neolithic to the Qing. Exh. cat. London. p. 310, fig. 3.
  • Edwards Park. Treasures from the Smithsonian Institution., 1st ed. Washington and New York. p. 340.
  • Joan Hartman-Goldsmith. Early Chinese Jades at the Freer Gallery. vol. 27, no. 4, Winter 1981-1982. pp. 446-449, fig. 6.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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