Heavy Jade Cong 琮, 2000 BC — Prehistory, Harvard Art Museums

Heavy Jade Cong 琮

3300 BC -2000 BC16.6 x 8 x 8 cm


Jade cong are among the most enimatic Neolithic artefacts. Buried with bodies in grave sites, and found in most of China's important archeological excavations, cong were extrordinary to difficult to create, since Jade cannot be split and had to be sanded to a smooth flat surface. This cong follows a common pattern, being hexagonal, with a round hollow core, with a slight taper from top to bottom. Each corner is inscribed with a stylized face.

We have no idea what cong, and their sister artefacts, bi, were used for — but their use in burials and their apparent lack of function imply a ritual use among China's neolithic people.

Harvard Art Museums

Submitted by: Reed Enger
  1. harvardartmuseums.org