Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

新石器时代良渚文化 玉琮
Ritual Object (Cong)

Period:
Neolithic period, Liangzhu culture (ca. 3200–2000 B.C.)
Date:
ca. 2400 B.C.
Culture:
China
Medium:
Jade (nephrite)
Dimensions:
H. 10 in. (25.4 cm); W. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm)
Classification:
Jade
Credit Line:
Purchase, Sir Joseph Hotung Gift, 2004
Accession Number:
2004.52
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 207
Among Neolithic jades, the cong displays the most complex form: a cylindrical tube encased in a square prism that gently tapers from top to bottom. Simple masks with circular eyes and bar-shaped mouths decorate the corners. Enigmatic in function and meaning, the cong probably signified wealth and social status. In a tomb found at Sidun, Jiangsu Province, numerous cong lay in a circle around the dead, suggesting that they also served a religious or ritual purpose.
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