Dish-shaped ivory object adorned with two birds worshipping the sun

Hemudu culture (7,000–5,300 years ago)

Height (remaining) 6.3 cm, Length 16.6 cm, Thickness 1.2 cm

One of the museum’s Top Ten Treasures

Dish-shaped objects like this can be made of ivory, wood or stone. The front is flat and partly adorned with an incised

design, while the back is rather crudely processed. Each object has crosswise grooves in the middle and a varying

number of small holes for fastening it to a handle. Made of ivory, this object has been broken and has six small holes

drilled through it. Incised at the centre of the front side is a common design of circles with a flame-like edge. On both

sides of and connected to the circles are two symmetrical birds raising their heads to look at each other, with a slight

difference in the amount of detail. The image has been interpreted to represent two birds worshipping or carrying the

sun. Around the birds are curves and dotted lines linking the holes. (Gu Youjing)