Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee
Diameter: 15.6 cm
John Ayers and Jessica Rawson, Chinese Jade throughout the Ages (Victoria & Albert Museum 01/01/1975-31/12/1975)
Selected Examples from the Jade Exhibition at Stockholm 1963: A Comparative Study, BMFEA, No. 36 (1964), p. 17, pl. 6.
China, room 44
Eastern Han dynasty
This ring is decorated with the Animals of the Four Directions: the green dragon (east), the vermillion bird (south), the white tiger (west), and the tortoise and snake (north).
Carved nephrite jade
Museum no. A.22-1935 
Pale translucent green with brown and grey markings. Decorated in relief on both sides with the Animals of Four Quarters: the tigers of the west, the dragon of the east, the bird of the south whose head emerges in openwork above the edge of the ring, and the tortoise and snake, known as the Black Warrior of the North.
The pattern on both sides of this jade ring shows the Animals of the Four Quarters. They are the dragon of the east, the bird of the south (whose head emerges in openwork above the edge of the ring), the tiger of the west, and the tortoise of the north. It would have been used in a Daoist ritual.