A glass scabbard slide and a jade scabbard slide
China, Han dynasty, 2nd – 1st century
Two scabbard slides of typical form. The top of the glass slide is worked in relief with a dense pattern of interlocking raised dots. The material is of a whitish celadon tone and the glass imitates jade both in the so-called “flaws” and in the small areas of breakage. The jade slide has a similar pattern of raised dots, and the celadon coloured material has partly acquired a russet patina, particularly visible on top.
It is obvious that glass would never survive intact as a sword fitting and the conclusion therefore is that it was made as a – successful – imitation of jade. A very similar glass scabbard slide, imitating jade, is in the Muwen Tang collection. A jade scabbard slide of similar form is in the Hotung collection. A glass scabbard slide, the material imitating jade, is inthe collection of the Changsa Museum in Hunan province, China (plate 1).
1 Kwan, S. Early Chinese Glass, The Muwen Tang Collection, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2001, nos. 70 pp. 204 + 5
2 Rawson, J. , The British Museum Press, London 1995, no. 21:12, p. 300op. cit. no. 4:6, p. 136