This openwork handle is cast with a dragon rearing up above two tigers who are locked in combat. The naturalistic detailing of the creatures is combined with abstract ornamental scrolling that adds to the dynamism of the design.
A similar gilt bronze brush handle was excavated from a Western Han tomb at Shuo-hsien in Shensi province in 1987. The excavation report referred to it as the handle for a "cleaning" brush, noting that it was discovered near a pair of bronze paper weights and a small bronze seal. The short-bristled flat brush was probably used by a scholar to clean precious objects or to dust silk or possibly paper in preparation for writing.