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Gold dagger handle
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In ancient China gold was not as prestigious as jade or bronze. It was mainly used for decorative purposes, such as inlay or coating on bronze or lacquer objects, and only very rarely for creating the objects themselves. In the Eastern Zhou period (771-221 BC), however, gold began to be used on a larger scale. Gold-working still relied to a great extent on well-established bronze technology such as casting objects using moulds.

This gold dagger handle has a conspicuous line on its sides, showing that it was probably cast in a two-piece mould. The hilt is hollowed out and both sides are decorated with a design known as dragon interlace. The handle is very fragile, which probably made it impractical for use on a real dagger. It may have been made for display or for placing in a tomb for use in the afterlife.

Gold dagger handle

From China, Eastern Zhou dynasty, VI-V century BC.
Ht. 9,8 cm.

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