Disk (bi) with knobs, masks and birds

Historical period(s)
Western Han dynasty, BCE 206-9 CE
Jade (nephrite)
H x Diam: 0.7 x 27.1 cm (5/16 x 10 11/16 in) Diam (hole): 9.1 cm (3 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Bequest of Mrs. Katharine Graham
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceremonial Object, Jade

Ceremonial object: disk (bi)

China, Han dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE), nephrite, Western Han dynasty (206 BCE - 9 CE), WWII-era provenance

To 2002
Mrs. Katharine Graham, Washington, DC, to 2002 [1]

From 2002
Freer Gallery of Art, bequeathed by Mrs. Katharine Graham in 2002


[1] Mrs. Katharine Graham received this object from her parents (according to Curatorial Note 5, Jan Stuart, December 2002, in the object record).

Previous Owner(s)

Katharine Meyer Graham 1917-2001


Unlike other disks in the Freer collection, this bi has raised bumps only on its outer border. The inner ring is decorated with pairs of entwined birds and animal masks. These patterns are reversed on most excavated examples, with spirals filling the inner ring. Such variations in the highly standardized organization of decoration are extremely rare among ritual objects.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.