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Gallery Text

In Neolithic China, nephrite and other beautiful stones were fashioned into nonfunctional ceremonial blades and ritual implements that were buried in the graves of important people. Many of the same types of jades, such as the diskshaped ritual implement known as a bi, were used during subsequent periods as well.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1943.50.518
Title
Jade 'Bi' Disk
Other Titles
Alternate Title: pi
Classification
Ritual Implements
Work Type
disk
Date
c. 3300 - c. 2000 BCE
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Period
Neolithic period, Liangzhu culture, c. 3300-2200 BCE
Culture
Chinese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/204818
Location
Level 1, Room 1740, Early Chinese Art, Arts of Ancient China from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Cream-colored nephrite with light brown markings and a dark brown area at the edge
Dimensions
Diam. 13.8 x Thickness 1.2 cm (5 7/16 x 1/2 in.)
Weight 373 g
Provenance
Grenville L. Winthrop, New York (by 1943), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
Published Text
Catalogue
Ancient Chinese Jades from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University
Authors
Max Loehr and Louisa G. Fitzgerald Huber
Publisher
Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1975)

Catalogue entry no. 10 by Max Loehr:

10 Pi Disk
Heavy, smoothly polished disk of cream-colored stone with light brown markings and a dark brown area at the edge. The perforation, nearly cylindrical but not quite perpendicular, was ground smooth after drilling. Neolithic or later.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
1943
Object Number
1943.50.518
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Max Loehr and Louisa G. Fitzgerald Huber, Ancient Chinese Jades from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1975), cat. no. 10, p. 40

Exhibition History

S427: Ancient Chinese Bronzes and Jades, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 10/20/1985 - 04/30/2008

32Q: 1740 Early China I, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu