Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Kangxi period (1662–1722)
Date: dated 1716
Medium: Jade with incised gilded design
Dimensions: H. 11 1/8 in. (28.3 cm); W. 19 3/4 in. (50.2 cm); D. 1 in. (2.5 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Major Louis Livingston Seaman, 1903
Accession Number: 03.15.1
The manufacture of sonorous stones for decoration or music from carved or cut jade may be traced to the end of the late Eastern Zhou period (ca. 771–221 B.C.) and followed in a tradition of L-shaped stone chimes known from about 1700 B.C. The great importance of sonorous substances such as wood and stone among the percussion instruments of East Asia stems from the religious belief that, through this vibrating matter, nature itself speaks to the human ear. Highly polished slabs were decorated with tiger, lion, or dragon motifs.