The Liangzhu Jade Cong

February 25, 2018
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The Liangzhu Jade Cong, was made in in an area of northern, Neolithic China, in about 3,300-2,200 B.C.E.,. The cong, is made out of brown jade, one of the most precious gems in the world, suggesting that only noblemen and the royal family would only have them, though there is no concrete proof of this. They were found in graves. In a circle around the body, with unfinished or sloppily made congs at the bodies feet, growing in craftsmanship as they grew closer to the head. While there were many congs in each grave, they were very hard to make, as jade is too tough to be cut with a knife, suggesting that they had a settled society, which allowed people to forgo farming and building, and to devote their lives to art, as the only way to carve jade is to meticulously rub it with sand. There is no written record or even mention of how the congs were used, or meant to symbolize, but some scholars believe that the lines were meant to represent the earth, and the masks, the ancient Chinese gods. There were no congs found anywhere except for graves, suggesting that they had a use only for funereal rituals, perhaps as a way to communicate with their gods of death. We cannot fathom, though, if everyone had these, or only certain people of distinction, neither can we know the tradition it was used for.





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