Qin Shi Huang Di 259 – 210 BC First Emperor of China (An Eighteenth Century portrait) And a Little Jade Qin Shi Huang Di aspiring to eternal life swallowed drops of Hydrargyrum with a little jade. In the spheres of runaway silver he saw reflections of himself – more and more, with new worlds born under his almighty finger until he grew tired of disintegration. Qin folded up the firmament. He gathered centrifugal planets to return them all to where they began amalgamating wayward drops. He slowed the quick-willed silver globes with his omnipotence. When all the drops had coalesced the imperial Qin, unaware of all he did not know lifted his drink to the setting sun and felt at one with the universe. For Qin Shi Huang Di his journey to eternity began with drops of Mercury and a little jade.