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THE ORIGINAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BI DISKS: INSIGHTS BASED ON LIANGZHU JADE BI WITH INCISED SYMBOLIC MOTIFS

THE ORIGINAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BI DISKS: INSIGHTS BASED ON LIANGZHU JADE BI WITH INCISED SYMBOLIC... THE ORIGINAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BI DISKS: INSIGHTS BASED ON LIANGZHU JADE BI WITH INCISED SYMBOLIC MOTIFS BY TENG SHU-P’ING (National Palace Museum, Taibei) Translated by Lothar von Falkenhausen (UCLA) Abstract This article discusses the symbolic markings incised on a small group of jade bi disks from the Neolithic Liangzhu Culture in southeastern China, now dispersed among museums all over the world. A close description of the objects and their incised motifs— which are, for the most part, diplayed with the center of the bi as the implied point of reference—is followed by an attempt at interpretation. It is found that these objects testify to early stages of development of cosmological concepts that remained impor- tant 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. Introduction The enigmatic symbols incised on some Neolithic jades from China have aroused scholarly interest ever since a line drawing of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of East Asian Archaeology Brill

THE ORIGINAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BI DISKS: INSIGHTS BASED ON LIANGZHU JADE BI WITH INCISED SYMBOLIC MOTIFS

Journal of East Asian Archaeology , Volume 2 (1): 165 – Jan 1, 2000

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2000 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1387-6813
eISSN
1568-5233
DOI
10.1163/156852300509835
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

THE ORIGINAL SIGNIFICANCE OF BI DISKS: INSIGHTS BASED ON LIANGZHU JADE BI WITH INCISED SYMBOLIC MOTIFS BY TENG SHU-P’ING (National Palace Museum, Taibei) Translated by Lothar von Falkenhausen (UCLA) Abstract This article discusses the symbolic markings incised on a small group of jade bi disks from the Neolithic Liangzhu Culture in southeastern China, now dispersed among museums all over the world. A close description of the objects and their incised motifs— which are, for the most part, diplayed with the center of the bi as the implied point of reference—is followed by an attempt at interpretation. It is found that these objects testify to early stages of development of cosmological concepts that remained impor- tant 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. Introduction The enigmatic symbols incised on some Neolithic jades from China have aroused scholarly interest ever since a line drawing of

Journal

Journal of East Asian ArchaeologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2000

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