Overall: 5 x 2.7 cm (1 15/16 x 1 1/16 in.)
Gift of Robert H. Ellsworth in honor of Sherman E. Lee 1987.160
This is a dog and lion hybrid.
This small object in the shape of a hybrid dog-lion is believed to have been used as a paperweight. Since the Three Kingdoms period (57 BC−668), mercury amalgam gilding had been widely employed to embellish metal objects as well as to make their surface resistant to acids. This technique involves mixing pure gold powder with liquid mercury to form a paste-like mixture. As heat is applied, the mercury evaporates, but an opaque layer of gold remains on the surface. This coating must be polished by first rubbing it with dried rice seedlings, then processing it in ash lye to eliminate impurities; next, the piece is washed and rinsed in a plum vinegar bath.
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