Sep 11, 2012
Sep 11, 2012

Ceremonial Disc (Bi)

Ceremonial Disc (Bi)


3300–2200 BCE

Jade (nephrite)

Diameter: 32 cm (12 5/8 in.); Overall: 1 cm (3/8 in.); Inner diameter: 5.4 cm (2 1/8 in.)

Worcester R. Warner Collection 1917.974


The Liangzhu culture, one of the later Neolithic cultures of East China, excelled in jade working. Exceptionally large versions like the Cleveland disc are rare and usually occupied pride of place on the chest of the buried. Traditionally called bi, these plain discs, together with cong, squared cylinders, form an essential ritual pair in Liangzhu burials of high-status individuals. This small, tapered cong cylinder made from a highly polished, fine-grained, ivory-colored material shows a four-tiered design. Alternating faces, marked by large oval eyes, a nose bridge, and a mouth, occupy the corners. Their meanings in burials and accompanying rituals remain unknown.

See also
China - Neolithic
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 

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