Beast of prey, Western Zhou dynasty, ca 1000 BC. Jade; height 2,6 cm, width 6,2 cm. National Gallery of Prague, Vp 2463.
Jade was used in ancient China to make not only small figurines, pendants and ornaments but, in the first place, special ritual objects such as the circular bi disk and the elongated cong tube. The magic power of jade was moreover often combined with the symbolic meaning of a certain motif or form. A beast of prey or a tiger was a favorite shape of small carvings produced by members of the ancient warrior societies, which could serve as protective pendants or had other apotropaic functions.