- Museum number
Green-black-grey nephrite jade. Grooved, tapered and decorated with bands and circles.
- Production date
- 2500BC (circa)
Height: 20.50 centimetres
Weight: 2.13 kilograms
Width: 7.50 centimetres
Depth: 7.70 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Rawson 1992:
The purposes of these jade carvings are unknown, although they are thought to have had a ceremonial and possibly also a protective function. They have been found in large numbers in burials of the Liangzhu culture (c. 2500 BC). The Liangzhu peoples inherited skills and traditions from the Dawenkou and Hongshan peoples and they used two distinct types of ritual jade: a disc later known as a 'bi' and a tube of square cross-section pierced with a circular hole, later known as 'cong'. In some cases they were made of serpentine.
The corners of 'cong' such as this are decorated with schematic faces, indicated by eyes and parallel bars suggesting hair and a nose. Two types of faces are found: one with rounded human eyes and the other with large oval eyes. Creatures with these two types of eyes appear on other jades, including axes, where they are often shown in much greater detail. The rounded human eyes might belong to a priest-like figure wearing a feathered headdess.
Once bronze casting developed, jades were less in evidence. However, although their original purposes were probably forgotten, 'bi' and 'cong' survived. See also BM 1884.0405.1, BM OA+ 110, BM 1945.1017.139, BM 1937.0416.162, BM 1937.0416.142 and BM 1937.0416.183.
- On display (G33/dc3a/s1)
- Exhibition history
1935-6 International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London
2012 18 Apr – 17 July, Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, ‘Treasures of the World’s Cultures’
2012 Nov 30 - 2013 Apr 4, Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle, ‘Treasures of The World's Cultures’
2014-2015 13 Dec-15 Mar, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
2015 18 Apr–28 Jun, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
2015 14 Jul–6 Sep, Kyushu National Museum, Dazaifu, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
2015-2016 20 Sep-11 Jan, Kobe City Museum, Kobe, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
2016 13 Feb-18 Jun, National Museum of Western Australia, Perth, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
2016-2017 08 Sep-29 Jan, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
2017 1 Mar-31 May, National Museum of China, Beijing, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
2017 28 Jun-08 Oct, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number