9. M5009



Chinese jade circular disc, bi, carved in high relief with a bifid-tailed chilong dragon holding a fruiting lingzhi branch with large leaves in its mouth, the dragon’s body with scrolls on its haunches and detailed claws, the underside with an intricate grain pattern between raised borders.

The stone white and russet with natural markings.

2 7/8 inches, 7.3 cm diameter.

Ming dynasty, 15th/16th century.



Provenance & Additional Information

  • Sold by Louis Joseph, 28 Knightsbridge, London, 1960-1985, by repute.
  • A similar bi with a single dragon dated to the Yuan dynasty in the Shanghai Museum is illustrated by Zhang Wei in Zhongguo Gudai Yuqi, Ancient Chinese Jade, no. 178, p. 220; another with two dragons is illustrated by Zheng Xinmiao in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum, Beijing, 6, collection no. Gu 84429, no. 12, p. 36; another with two dragons was included by Basil Gray, Jessica Rawson and John Ayers in Chinese Jades Throughout the Ages, an exhibition organised by the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Oriental Ceramic Society, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1975, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 40, 1973-75, no. 350, p. 107; another with a similar ridged spine, bifid tail, two claws and scrolls on the haunches, from the collection of Dr. S. Y. Yip, was included by Ip Yee in Chinese Jade Carving, an exhibition jointly presented by the Urban Council, Hong Kong, and the Min Chiu Society, organised by the Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1983, no. 205, pp. 228/9.
  • The symbolic meaning of the dragon holding a fruiting lingzhi branch in its mouth represents the emperor (dragon, long) bringing peace and benevolence during a long reign as the fungus, lingzhi, represents immortality and longevity. This subject on a bi which has the same pronunciation with the word bi for certainty, implies that this will certainly happen.