Filigree Gold Zan Inlaid with Gems

Hubei Provincial Museum

Hubei Provincial Museum
Wuhan, China

Gold hairpins in many different shapes were found in Prince Zhuang's tomb. The complicated inlay process involved hammering, sawing, clamping, setting, and cutting. Each piece of gold was hammered and forged, sawed into a partial pattern, polished, and welded onto the main piece, and finally inlaid with gems.

These two trapezoidal Zan would have been inserted into the bun from the bottom upwards to hold the hair bun in place.The hairpin heads are trapezoidal in shape and slightly curved. They are decorated with a double-layer hollow design. The bottom layer is an openwork base plate with four welded claws, decreasing in size from top to bottom. It is set with two rubies and one sapphire.


  • Title: Filigree Gold Zan Inlaid with Gems
  • Location: Tomb of Prince Zhuang of Liang, Zhongxiang City, Hubei Province
  • Medium: Gold and Precious Stones
  • Excavation Date: 2001
  • Dynasty: Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644
  • Dimensions: Left length: 15.3cm, head width: 3cm, weight: 32.6g.Right length: 15.8cm, head width: 3cm, weight: 33.8g.

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