This is my experience in Beijing, China in the Summer of 2009.
If you came to this webpage first, it's better if you
start from the beginning of the story.
This is an interesting object called a Tally.
It was used to verify imperial commands to outlying armies.
Again, I could not include the description card in the picture
but I transcribe it here:
Bronze Tiger-shaped Tally
Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.)
Excavated from Shanmenkou, southern suburbs of Xi'an City
Tally was one kind of special token used by emperor to transmit his
order and to confer military power upon his ministers. It is comprised of
two halves, the left and the right. The right half was kept in the imperial
palace, while the left half was hold by the commander stationed outside. Only
when both parts were fitted together, completing the inscription, would an
officer accepted the written order as valid.