This is an example of the third type of pattern used in the State of Qi during the Warring States period. It is deliberately asymmetrical and uses a split half design to include two images. On one side there is a horse and on the other side there is a single cloud. Clouds are a common design feature in all sorts of Chinese designs from earliest times right up to the background pattern for the 2008 Olympic graphics. This early cloud design is a single cloud, later cloud designs were used for fill patterns or to indicate heaven.
The balance of this tile is created by the tree which unites the two sides, just as the shields containing the heraldry of England had different symbols placed in different sections of the pattern. In each case the weight of each symbol balanced the whole. I only included one of the asymmetrical pieces, there were others, but the remaining Qi designs on this site are the symmetrical geometric type.
Last update: September 2013
© Marilyn Shea, 2013