The purpose and function of the jade cong are still unknown. Archaeological artifacts of jade include sacrificial vessels, tools, ornaments, utensils, and many other items. One of the most intriguing aspects of this ancient artifact relates to its unknown function and purpose. The Jade Age: Early Chinese Jades in American Museums. Jade (nephrite) was regarded as the most precious stone in ancient China, and it symbolised purity and moral integrity. The sleeping dog was at peace, but when a threat appeared, it woke to action and defense. Even in religion and mythology jade made its impact, with one of the major Chinese gods, the Jade Emperor, being named after the precious stone. Chinese Jade maskby The British Museum (Copyright). The cong was decorated with circles some assume to be a depiction of eyes that were only occasionally visible. As an outcome, the material became affiliated with royalty and high rank. Even so, Barnes also notes that Neolithic Chinese could distinguish true jade (defined as nephrite - composed of tremolite and actinolite - and jadeite) from other stones and how the jade artifacts from the Liangzhu Culture are 100% nephrite. Laufer claimed that archaeological and literary records showed "the Chinese have never passed through an epoch which for other culture-regions has been designated as a stone age.". This period of collecting, so poignant for Chinese, is considered the Golden Age of jade collecting by western collectors. Submitted by Joshua J. By the time of the Liangzhu Culture, these techniques had been developing for thousands of years. Jade objects were valued in China for several reasons: to symbolize rank, power, morality, wealth, and immortality. Their cooperation, as well as the respect they accord to one another, successfully binds together the many strands in the history of early Chinese jades in American collections, imitating the structure of jade itself. Jade Art in American Museums At the Field Museum of Chicago, the German-born anthropologist Berthold Laufer, was the last word on things "Oriental." It is assumed that quartz sand was used at first and then crushed almandine garnets and eventually corundum. The Legend of the Imperial Jade Seal of China, An Heirloom Lost in Time. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 29 Jun 2017. This drill, like the others, was tubular. Chinese Jade Cormorantby The British Museum (Copyright). Marvelous Juglet With Pure Four Gold Coins Found In Jerusalem – Someone’s Piggy Bank? Image: MetMuseum: Right: Another jade cong. Increasingly, jades began to take on the role of indicators of social status. Why Was Alexander A Great Military Genius? By 1912, Laufer was the leading Western expert on jade. Cartwright, Mark. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. The finest Liangzhu Culture jades are thought to come from this later period when the artists’ technique of manipulating the nephrite would have been perfected. The earliest cong were produced by the Liangzhu culture (3400-2250 BC); Sometimes, a jade cong may be squat or taller than it is wide. Proud New Yorker interested in the contributions of women to our city. A potent symbol of protection and one of the subjects rendered in jade by the Liangzhu was the dog who defended people against ghosts and other supernatural threats. Congs shaped as a square tube with a circular hole are among the most impressive yet enigmatic of all ancient Chinese jades. Zhou Dynasty Jade Dragonby The British Museum (Copyright). The Liangzhu people inhabited the Jiangsu province of China, during the third millennium B.C. Still, it is clear that jade objects carried significant symbolic meaning and subjects seem to have been carefully chosen as worthy of representation in the 'true jade' of nephrite. The grades of colors used, their flavor, market stability, artifact shape has to be considered for sure. Chinese Ancient Hongshan Culture Jade … The control of resources dedicated to these objects, show the rise of the ruling elite early Chinese city-state. Before purchasing or auctioning the antique Chinese jades, one should ensure that they know the worth of those artifacts. Cartwright, M. (2017, June 29). A. Sutherland - - One of the most perplexing ancient Chinese artifacts ever discovered is the jade cong that offers evidence our ancestors were familiar with advanced ancient technology. The Khotan region of Central Asia is another known source of the stone in antiquity.