Jade Cong King: A Tribute to Mother Earth
Name: Jade Cong King | 中文名: 玉琮王
Dated to：3,300~2,250B.C., Neolithic Period | Culture: Liangzhu Culture
Unearthed: 1986@Tomb #12, Fanshan, Yuhang, Zhejiang | Current Location: Zhejiang Museum
Dimension: height: 8.8cm, diameter: 17.1~17.6cm, weight: 6,500gram, inner hole diameter: 4.9cm
The King of Jade Cong
Yellowish-white, with a purple spot, this Cong shapes like a short square cylinder, round inside and square outside, with round faces at the upper and lower end. There are pairs of drill holes, which make it look like a Bi jade from the top.
Four sides of the Cong body is divided by a 5cm wide middle groove into two parts and by horizontal grooves into four sections. This Jade Cong weighs about 6,500 grams, wide and huge in size, and has a unique rich decoration pattern. It is the best Jade artifact of Liangzhu culture. So it is called “Jade Cong King”
Jade Cong: a connection between heaven and earth
Xu Shen (Han Dynasty) noted in his “Shuo Wen Jie Zi” (the earliest Chinese dictionary): “Cong, fine jade, about eight inches in size.” This is the earliest definition of Cong. According to “Rites of Zhou” records, “Blue Jade Bi to worship the heaven, Yellow Jade Cong to worship the earth.” Jade Cong is an object used in ritual sacrifices to God of Earth .
Let’s take this Jade Cong of Liangzhu culture as an example. It is square outside and round inside, with a middle hole. Experts have speculated that it may represent our ancestors’ “hemispherical dome” belief. The square means earth, the round circle means heaven. And Cong has both of them; it is a symbol of connection between heaven and earth.
At the time, every time when a good harvest, or memorial day, they held a grand sacrificial ceremony. Liangzhu ancestors would use this Jade Cong to communicate with heaven and earth gods. So Jade Cong is religious object of the Liangzhu people.
Liangzhu Culture is rich in jade artifacts and is recently discovered to be a possible major Dynasty before currently known earliest Xia Dynasty. To know more about Liangzhu culture, you can visit this article: wikpedia (in English) and these two youtube videos 1, 2 (in Chinese).
[Forbidden Treasure of China Series]
This is the 14th of 64 culture heritages that the government of China forbids to exhibit abroad. The complete list is here. In Chinese.