Each of these bronze weights is cast in the form of a roosting phoenix with its head turned and resting on its back. Both birds are inscribed with fine lineation describing the plumage and other minute features, and they are completely gilded. The underside of each is filled with a lead amalgam for added weight.
Pairs of objects such as these, but most often sets of four, have been retrieved from aristocratic Han tombs suggesting that they were meant to be used as weights possibly for the floor mats commonly used for seating at that time or to hold burial shrouds in place. The decorative use of stone or metal inlay as well as the gilding seen here can be found on contemporary bronze vessels and personal ornaments conveying a sense of the luxury and wealth associated with Han society.