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Ritual Tube (Cong)

Asian Art

The tube-shaped ritual jade object called a cong first appeared in northeast China in the Neolithic period, circa 4000–2100 B.C. Although the precise ceremonial use of the cong is unknown, writers in the late Zhou dynasty described the cong as a symbol of the Earth, pairing it with the ritual disk called a bi, which was thought to symbolize Heaven. Cong are rare after the Neolithic period, although they were sometimes rediscovered in the Shang and Zhou dynasties and cherished as ancient objects. Unlike many highly decorated cong tubes from the south-central Chinese Liangzhu culture, this cong is very simple in form, with an undecorated surface. The style and the dark, almost black jade associate it with jades from the Longshan culture in China's Shaanxi province dated to approximately 2500-1700 B.C.

MEDIUM Jade (nephrite)
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES late 19th century
    DYNASTY Western Zhou Dynasty
    PERIOD Qing Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 6 1/2 in. (7 x 7 x 16.5 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 71.116.3
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Elizabeth F. Babbott in memory of Dr. Frank L. Babbott
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Ritual Tube (Cong), late 19th century. Jade (nephrite), 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 6 1/2 in. (7 x 7 x 16.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Elizabeth F. Babbott in memory of Dr. Frank L. Babbott, 71.116.3. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 71.116.3_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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    RECORD COMPLETENESS Good (74%)
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