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Creation date: 3000 BCE
Creation place: China

Other Information

Type: Jade Bi
Medium and Support: Nephrite
Credit Line: Bequest of Mrs. Cora Timken Burnett
Accession Number: 1957.450
Dimensions: 9 3/4 in. x 9 3/4 in. x 1/4 in. (24.77 cm x 24.77 cm x 0.64 cm)
Currently on view

Label Copy

This large circular disk of nephrite (a type of jade) called a bi was used in burials in the late Neolithic period in the coastal areas of Eastern China. The bi were placed around and on the body of the deceased, often in association with a squared jade tube known as a cong. By the late Zhou dynasty (4th century BCE), bi and cong had come to be paired as complementary ritual objects, symbolizing heaven and earth, respectively. Jade, particularly nephrite-lustrous, translucent, and with colors of the sky and the sea-was valued in China to a similar extent as gold was treasured in Western cultures.
Last Updated: 2/6/2018


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Art of East Asia San Diego Museum of Art , 2/3/2013 - 8/1/2013


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Ms. Yu Sung. San Diego Museum of Art San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1993
Page Number: 18, 19, Figure Number: 19

Ms. Yu Sung. Selections from the Chinese Collection San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1999
Page Number: 50, Figure Number: 50

The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego Catalogue: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1960
Page Number: 135

Dr. Caron Smith. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 28, Figure Number: 28

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