Objects carved of jade often were placed in Han-dynasty burials of people of high rank. This article focuses on a small, shield-shaped (or “heart-shaped”) pendant frequently found near the deceased. The development of the type is examined through its appearance in tombs dating to the early Western Han through the end of the Eastern Han and extending into the immediate post-Han period. The typology of the pendant and its surface decoration are analyzed. This type of jade pendant resurfaced in the Song dynasty, but its most significant resurgence is during the Ming and early Qing dynasties, although by then its decorative features, as recorded in illustrations in books, appear to be more important than its use in burials. The article also explores the foundational years of collecting Chinese art in the West by individuals such as the sinologist Berthold Laufer, as well as other scholars of Chinese art, as they began to understand the shield-shaped pendant's origin as a Han-dynasty artifact and to explore its significance.

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