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Jade cong
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This is a mysterious ritual object known as a cong, which were often found in tombs. This one was made of jade about 4500 years ago by the Neolithic Liangzhu culture in the Jiangsu province of China.

These cong, essentially a square tube pierced with a central circular hole, are among the most impressive yet most enigmatic of all ancient Chinese jade artefacts. Though they were buried in large numbers - one tomb contained 33, and spectacular examples have been found at all the major Liangzhu sites - their function and meaning remain unknown.

Cong were extremely difficult and time-consuming to produce, as jade cannot be split but must be ground down and worked with a hard abrasive sand. The corners of most cong are decorated with what appear to be faces, indicated by eyes and parallel bars, possibly representing spirits or deities. The faces combine elements of a man-like figure and a mysterious beast.

Jade cong

From southern China, c. 2500 вс
Ht 49.5 cm.

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