Lacquered Shield with Patterns of Dragons and Phoenixes

Hubei Provincial Museum

Hubei Provincial Museum

Shield was a kind of defensive weapon. In the Warring States Period, people made shields by putting numerous layers of lacquer on a leather base. After the lacquer was properly dried, it became a nice, hard surface, upon which patterns are painted.

Dragon and Phoenix are two animals that were often used in decorative patterns. Chinese believed dragons are animals with holy power and phoenixes would bring peace and order to the world. People from Chu State also believed that phoenixes guide souls to the heaven. This lacquered shield was quite damaged when unearthed. Only parts of the lacquer surface were left. The lacquer surface is divided into 64 sections. In each section there are dragons, phoenixes and cloud painted with red, yellow, golden and black lacquer.

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  • Title: Lacquered Shield with Patterns of Dragons and Phoenixes
  • Location: Unearthed from Leigudun Tomb (No.1 ), Suizhou, Hubei
  • Medium: Lacquer, Leather
  • Excavation Date: 1978
  • Dynasty: Around 433 B.C. (the East Zhou Dynasty and the early Warring States Period)
  • Dimensions: Length: 92.5 cm; width: 55 cm.