Bi (jade)


Bi (jade)

The bi (zh-cpw|c=璧|p=bì|w=pi) is a form of circular jade artifact from ancient China. The earliest "bi" were produced in the Neolithic period, particularly by the Liangzhu culture (3400-2250 BC). [ [http://www.nga.gov/education/chinatp_sl03.shtm Teaching Chinese Archaeology, object 3 - NGA ] ] Later examples date mainly from the Shang, Zhou and Han dynasties. They were also made in glass.

Description

A "bi" is a flat jade disc with a circular hole in the centre. Neolithic "bi" are undecorated, while those of later periods of China, like the Zhou dynasty, bear increasingly ornate surface carving whose motifs represented deities associated with the sky (four directions) as well as standing for qualities and powers the wearer wanted to invoke or embody.

As laboriously crafted objects, they testify to the concentration of power and resources in the hands of a small elite. [ [http://www.nga.gov/education/chinatp_sl03.shtm Teaching Chinese Archaeology, object 3 - NGA ] ]

Meaning

Later traditions associate the "bi" with heaven, and the "cong" with the earth. [ [http://www.palaceantique.com/Browse.aspx?id=14 Jade Bi-disk, Congs & Arches | PalaceAntique.com ] ] Bi disks are consistently found with heaven and earth-like imagery, suggesting that the disk's circular shape also bears symbolic significance as this description explains:

It is found that these objects testify to early stages of development of cosmological concepts that remained important in Chinese culture during the Warring States and Han periods: the notion of a covering sky ("gaitian") that revolves around a central axis, the cycle of the Ten Suns, and the use of an early form of the carpenter's square. These objects were handled by shamans who were the religious leaders of Liangzhu society and the transmitters of cosmological knowledge. [ [http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/brill/eaa/2000/00000002/F0020001/art00008 article "The Original Significance of Bi Disks: insights based on Liangzhu Jade Bi with incised symbolic motifs", by Shu-P'Ing, Teng," Journal of East Asian Archaeology" Volume 2, Numbers 1-2, 2000 , pp. 165-194(30)] ]

Function

The original function and significance of the "bi" are unknown, as the Neolithic cultures have no written history. From these earliest times they were buried with the dead, as a sky symbol, accompanying the dead into the after world or "sky", with the cong which connected the body with the earth. [ [http://www.nga.gov/education/chinatp_sl03.shtm Teaching Chinese Archaeology, object 3 - NGA ] ] They were placed ceremonially on the body in the grave of aristocrats. "Bi" are sometimes found near the stomach and chest in neolithic burials. [ [http://www.bidisk.info/bidisk%20infoE.html The Jade Bi-Disk from China, Use, Meaning and Material in Historic and Prehistoric Times ] ] [ [http://www.nga.gov/education/chinatp_sl03.shtm Teaching Chinese Archaeology, object 3 - NGA ] ]

Jade, like bi disks, has been used throughout Chinese history to indicate an individual of moral quality, and has also served as an important symbol of rank. [ [http://www.palaceantique.com/Browse.aspx?id=14 Jade Bi-disk, Congs & Arches | PalaceAntique.com ] ] They were used in worship and ceremony – as ceremonial items they symbolised the ranks of emperor, king, duke, marquis, viscount, and baron with four different "kweis" and two different bi disks. [ [http://www.palaceantique.com/Browse.aspx?id=14 Jade Bi-disk, Congs & Arches | PalaceAntique.com ] ]

In war during the Zhou dynasty period (11th to 250 bc), bi disks belonging to the leaders of the defeated forces were handed over to the victor as a sign of submission. [ [http://www.bidisk.info/bidisk%20infoE.html The Jade Bi-Disk from China, Use, Meaning and Material in Historic and Prehistoric Times ] ]

The design of the reverse side of the medals given in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China are based on bi disks. [ [http://en.beijing2008.cn/spirit/beijing2008/graphic/n214070893.shtml Design of the Medal for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games] ]

References

ee also

*He Shi Bi
*Ancient Chinese glass
*Bi disks


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • JADE (programming language) — JADE is an object oriented software development and deployment platform. It has its own programming language that exhibits a seamlessly integrated application server and object oriented database management system. It is designed to be an end to… …   Wikipedia

  • Jade Empire — Developer(s) BioWare (Xbox) LTI Gray Matter (PC) Publisher(s) …   Wikipedia

  • jade — [ ʒad ] n. m. • 1612; var. a. ejade; esp. (piedra de la) ijada « (pierre des) flancs », cette pierre passant pour préserver des coliques néphrétiques 1 ♦ Minér. Roche métamorphique très dure, dont la couleur varie du blanc olivâtre au vert sombre …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Jade (disambiguation) — Jade is the (usually green colored) gemstone.Jade may also refer to: Geography German coast of Lower Saxony: * Jade, Germany, a municipality and one of its towns * Jade, Jade River * Jadebusen, bayOther: * Jade River (New Zealand) * Jade Mountain …   Wikipedia

  • Jade Warrior — Jade Warrior, 2008 Основная инфо …   Википедия

  • Jade Goody — in London (2007) Jade Cerisa Lorraine Goody (* 5. Juni 1981[1] in Bermondsey; † 22. März 2009[2] in Upshire, Gemeinde Waltham Abbey, Essex …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jade Raymond — en el E3 2007 Na …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jade Ewen — performing live in 2011. Background information Birth name Jade Almarie Louise Ewen Born …   Wikipedia

  • Jade (Begriffsklärung) — Jade steht für: Jade, einen Schmuckstein Jade (Fluss), in Niedersachsen Jade (Gemeinde), am gleichnamigen Fluss gelegen, Landkreis Wesermarsch Jade (Film), ein amerikanischer Spielfilm Jade (Band), eine Popgruppe aus China Jade Cargo… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jade (Mortal Kombat) — Jade Personaje de Mortal Kombat Creador(es) John Tobias y Ed Boon Información Sexo Femenino …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jade Valerie Villalon — Jade Valerie Datos generales Nombre real Jade Valeria Villalon Nacimiento 12 de agosto de 1980 (31 años) Origen San Diego …   Wikipedia Español


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.