Belt ornaments of fourteen dragon plaques, buried 1371
From the tomb of Wang Xingzu, Nanjing
Jade and gold
H.39 cm, W.62.2 cm (total, laid out)
This is the only known set of jade-on-gold belt ornaments with
five-clawed dragons from early Ming excavations. All of the
fourteen sections were worked out of the best quality of white jade
from Hetian. Six main plaques are decorated with a running dragon
amidst clouds; eight smaller ones with whirling clouds are
accessories to the main ones.
Coming from an important excavation in 1972,the whole set was found
in the tomb of military general Wang Xingzu(1338-1371), who
achieved power under Xu Da(1332-1385)by competing with northern
rivals for control of the Ming territory. His death was honored by
the Hongwu emperor, who named him Marquis of East Triumph.