Sui Dynasty (581-618)
Height: 4.5 centimeters
Length: 7.5 centimeters
Unearthed in Caojiayuan Terrace, Yangchuan Prefecture, Zhuanglang County, Gansu Province
The brass tiger tally is in the shape of a standing tiger, with its mouth open, the front legs straight, the rear legs pressing down the earth and tail sticking straight. A tiger tally was cast into two halves, with inscriptions cast in intaglio on the back. One half is inscribed with three lesser seal characters in intaglio on the front, reading “Changli Fu”, and six formal-script characters in intaglion on the back, reading “You Wuwei” and “Changli Er”. The other half is inscribed with three lesser seal characters in intaglio on the front, reading “Dahua Fu”, and six formal-script characters in intaglion on the back, reading “Zuo Wuwei” and “Dahua Fu”. A tally was used by an emperor in ancient China for troops dispatch. The emperor held one half and a general held the other. Only when the two halves got perfectly matched, could troops be dispatched. This tiger tally is of particularly important historical and artistic value for studying the military system and history of the Sui Dynasty, thus listed among the national first-grade cultural relics. The two halves are considered as one tally.