Tiger Tally (Hufu)


Han dynasty (206 BC - AD 220), About 100 BC

A tally provided identification, or clearance, for the person who carried it. According to ancient texts they were used as passports to travel along the frontiers and to grant access to more secure areas near the capital. Tallies were essential for military and merchants as they traveled around a country. One half of the tally was kept at a central office while the other half was carried as identification. At the end of a trip the tally was returned to the central office.

  • Titles Tiger Tally (Hufu) (Descriptive)
  • Artist China
  • Medium bronze
  • Dimensions 1 x 2 15/16 in. (2.5 x 7.5 cm)
  • Credit Line Gift of James A. Livingston, Jr., 1982.198a-b
  • Work Type tally
  • Classification Information forms