Glossary of Jade Shapes, Pieces and Designs


ZHULONG – PIG DRAGON

The dragon, being a mythical beast, has always featured in the Chinese cosmos as a fitting harbinger of imperial fortune and bountiful harvest, and it may be that the zhulong, incorporating the tasty and nutritious connotations of pig meat, was used for harvest-related worship or sacrificial practice.

There appear to be two basic body types of the zhulong: one has a smooth curl and the other has a larval-type segmentation. The fat, curling tail of each is further evidence that the dragon in China has a discernible affinity with the zhulong of Hongshan Culture, although it developed sub-stantially through subsequent history.

Associated with the zhulong is another kind of dragon form structured as a large circle of round cross-section with a break at one side. The upper section of the circle above this break forms the head of a dragon-like creature with pig-like nostrils, lying within the smooth form of the circle body but depicting brow, eyes and cross-hatched panels on each cheek and on the forehead. A long crest of mane of continuous fin-type form extends back from the head to curl out at a point one-third round the circular body. The form of this mane or crest has been compared with the mane of the wild boar which, coupled with the retrousse flat nose and double nostrils, again serves as convincing evidence of the association of the pig with the dragon’s origin.

Glossary of Jade Shapes, Pieces and Designs

Ever wonder what the meaning was for various shaped Jade items such as CONG, BI, DAO, LOHAN and RUYI. Have a look at our definition reference chart below.

APSARAS
celestial musicians and dancers in attendance on Buddhas
BEI
cup
BI
circular disc used in the worship of the God of the heavens
BI CONG
disc with tube; a present from a feudal prince to an Emperor
BIXIE
mythical beast like a unicorn; amulet to ward off evil influences
CHAI
ladies’ harpin
CHAN
spade-shaped blade
CHANG
half-tablet, held in hand to toast host (also used to worship God of the South, and used in State ceremonies)
CHANG TI
half-tablet with disc and point, used in worship of mountain and river gods
CHENG YA
central bottom piece of a girdle pendant
CHI
a cap ornament
CHILONG
dragon
CHUI
awl-shaped pendant
CONG
a cylinder enclosed in a rectangular tube, used in the worship of the God of the Earth; badge of rank in the Chou dynasty
DAO
square-ended blade
DING
in form of bronze food vessel
ER-ZHUI
earring
FU AXE
wealth axe with flat, wide blade
FURONG
lotus
HAN
in form of cicada
GE
dagger
GU
in form of bronze wine vessel
GUAN
tubular beads
GUANG
in the form of pouring vessel
GUI
sceptre in the form of a blade
GUI BE
tablet combined with disc, used in the worship of the sun, moon, and stars
HAN
flat disc or tear-drop shape with central hole for insertion in mouth
HAN BADAO
Han Dynasty feudal rule
HENG
central top piece of a girdle pendant
HU
jade shaped like a tiger, used as an offering to the God of the West
HUAN
disc with width of rim equal to that of central hole. A symbol of unity or reunion, sometimes a braclet
HUANG
half disc, used in the worship of the God of the North, sometimes black
HU FU
tiger tally, used as an emblem of authority, especially in the mobilization of troops
JU
bead; central lower piece of a girdle ornament
JUE
ring with segment missing, forming a wedge-shaped seal
KANG MAO
a pendant seal
KO
a halberd; a ritual jade
KOU
a buckle
KUEH
a broken ring, a semicircle of jade
KUEI
a tablet that comes in a variety of forms, sometimes resembling agricultural implements; used for worshipping the God of the East; token conferred on feudal princes by the Emperor
KUI-DRAGON
a small, primitive form of dragon usually appearing on bronzes
LEIWEN
thundercloud pattern
LIAN
bronze cylindrical vessel on 3 feet
LINGZHI
kind of mushroom
LOHAN
enlightened, saintly man
LONG
carving a dragon used in prayer for rain
LU
in form of bronze burner
MAO
short tablet, and emblem of authority used by the Emporer
MIE LIN
bed pendants for a diadem
PEI
dangling pendant
PEN
a sword guard
PI
circular disc used in the worship of the God of the heavens
PING
in the form of vase
PU PI
disc with a rush pattern
QILIN
mythical unicorn; many variations
RHYTON
a horn-shaped drinking vessel
RUYI
auspicious double-curved sceptre combinng  ru=you and yi=thought or idea
SANDAR CHAR
three-cut cicada
SHAN
mountain, hill or peak
SHOU
long life or longevity
SUI
a girdle clasp
SUSAN CHI
disc with cogs or teeth; perhaps an astronomical instrument
TAOTIE
animal mask
TI
an archer’s thumb ring; sometimes kueh
TING or HU
tablet, worn by the Emperor in his girdle and used as a base for writing
TINGZI
nail-like edge
TSAN
cicada
WA
pig
XI
pin form, sometimes thought to be a knot unraveller
XIAO XI
small knot loosener
XIBI
small disc used as a girdle pendant
XUAN
jade used as astronomical instrument
XUANJI
flat disc with serrated edge and hole
YA CHANG
half tablet with a tooth; badge for mobilising troops and administering military posts
YA DUO
thick edges
YI
in form of bronze cooking vessel
YIN
an official seal
YINGQING
a type of ceramic, literally ‘shadow blue’
YU
bronze wine vessel with swing handle and cover
YUAN
1. flat ring or disc with a hole twice the diameter of the rim width, used for summoning statesmen and others. 2. a ring of jade with sides wider than the hole
YU ZHI
ceremonial axe used in military performances
YU FU
fish tally, used in the same way as the hu fu
YUNLONG
cloud and dragon’, type of working used for rocks
YU SHAO
tip for staff used in ancient rituals
YUE AXE
wide-bladed disc axe, with central hole and symmetrical side notches
ZHANG
flat sword with slender hilt projections
ZHI
form
ZHULONG
pig dragon
ZHUO bracelet
ZUN in form of broze vessel