East Asia, Northern China, Manchuria / Inner Mongolia, Liao Dynasty, ca. 916 to 1125 CE. Extremely rare, a stunning gilded copper alloy plaque, perhaps a headdress ornament, depicting a Phoenix, presented in composite profile with outspread wings, finely delineated plumage, the magnificent bird’s head with a curved beak, a nicely delineated eye, as well as crest feathers and wonderful plumage. The mythical bird is surrounded by openwork of wonderful flourishes, and has an integral loop atop. Traditionally associated with the Empress, the phoenix is cherished for its symbolic and aesthetic value. This large reticulated gilt plaque boasts excellent detailing and ample remains of its original gilding. Quality of gilding: 41% gold. Size: 4″ W x 3.75″ H (10.2 cm x 9.5 cm); 6″ H (15.2 cm) on included custom stand.
According to legend, the phoenix is the most beautiful of all birds, called the feng huang, and the etymology of the name is derived from “emperor”. The phoenix will only appear in times of prosperity and peace, second only in the supernatural creatures of the Chinese pantheon to the dragon.