Berek Sawut, a sheep herder from the ethnic Kazakh group, was taking an evening rest near the mine in China's northern Xinjiang region on Jan. 30 when he found the nugget "practically lying on the bare ground."
It was found in the region's remote Altay Prefecture area, where irregular shaped nuggets are called "dog head gold" due to a belief you can see a dog's eyes and nose in the shape, according to The New York Times.
Market prices for the nugget, estimated to be 80 percent pure gold, is 1.6 million yuan, or about $255,300, according to Xinhua. The nine-inch long nugget is said to be the biggest one ever found in the Xinjiang region, which has about 600 gold mines storing a reserve of over 200 tons of gold, according to The New York Times.
All gold found in the mines reportedly belongs to the state, which is why Sawut feared the nugget would be taken away from him.
So far no government authorities have come looking for the gold.