CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A name applied to two distinct minerals, nephrite and jadeite; a general term for a semiprecious stone used in East Asia from the Neolithic onwards. Jade, in the form of polished axes, was traded in Neolithic Europe but chiefly known from contexts in China and Mesoamerica. It is too hard to be cut or flaked, but may be worked by abrasion. The most highly prized of the two is jadeite.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A rare mineral, the mostly highly prized of the two distinct minerals which may be called jade. Much of the jadeite is green, but it varies widely in color. It is a stone carved by Mesoamericans into ornaments and statuary. Many prehistoric artifacts in Europe are made from jadeite, but no suitable European resources are known today. Sources of jadeite are known in Burma, Mexico and California.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Thin highly polished unperforated implements, probably for ceremonial use. Examples date mainly from the 4th and 3rd millennia BC in northwest Europe.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Classic Mayasite in Belize, about 35 mi (56 km) north of Belize City which dates to the Middle Pre-Classic Period. It is known for caches of obsidian and jade. The land was poor for agriculture, but marine resources were exploited and the small center was quite wealthy. There is evidence of long-distance contact with Teotihuacan before it was abandoned, like other Maya ceremonial centers, c 900 AD.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The site of an early Yangshao Neolithic village, now a museum at Xi'an, China, in the basin of the confluence of the Yellow River (Huang Ho), the Fen Ho, and Kuei Shui. Radiocarbon dates range from c 4800-4300 BC. The settlement was about 50,000 sq. meters and included a cemetery and pottery kilns outside a ditch that surrounded the residences. Dogs, cattle, sheep, chicken and pigs were domesticated and millet, rice, kaoling, and possibly soybeans grown. The horse and silkworm may also have been raised. Unpainted pottery was cord-marked or stamped, and fine ceremonial" pottery vessels were painted in black or red with some simple geometric patterns and drawings of fish turtles deer and faces. There were some elaborately worked objects in jade as well as everyday objects made from flintbone and groundstone. Sites with similar remains have been excavated at nearby Jiangzhai Baoji Beishouling and Hua Xian Yuanjunmiao. These sites all exhibit the first evidence of food production in China."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: toggle CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Small decorative and functional objects used as garment hooks in China, Korea, and other Near Eastern areas as early as the 7th century BC. Belt hooks have been found in Han tombs in southwestern China, but this luxury item was most in vogue during the Warring States period (5th-3rd centuries BC). These belt hooks were inlaid with gold or silver foil, polished fragments of turquoise, or more rarely with jade or glass; sometimes they were gilded. Most examples are bronze, often lavishly decorated with inlays, but some are made of jade, gold, or iron. The belt hook consists of a bar or flat strip curving into a hook at one end and carrying at the other end, on the back, a button for securing it to the belt. The hooks vary widely in size, shape, and design, and although contemporary sculptures sometimes show them at the waists of human figures, some examples are far too large to have been worn and their function is unclear. Textual evidence hints that the belt hook was adopted by the Chinese from the mounted nomads of the northern frontier of inner Asia, perhaps along with other articles of the horseman's costume. They were probably worn by both men and women.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: bi CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A flat jade disc with a small hole in the center, made in ancient China for ceremonial purposes, possibly symbolizing Heaven. Bi disks have also been described in ancient Chinese texts as a symbol of rank. Jade disks and disklike axes have been found in 4th- and 3rd-millennium BC graves at east-coast Neolithic sites such as Beiyinyangying. Polished stone disk segments are known still earlier at Banpo.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A village in western France near the Atlantic coast that is the site of more than 3,000 prehistoricstone monuments of the alignmenttype. These menhirs are arranged in three groups of 10-13 parallel rows, which ended at semicircles or rectangles of standing stones. The single stone menhirs and multistone dolmens were made from local granite and are worn by time and weather and covered in white lichen. The area also has a series of long cairns of mid-Neolithic to Early Bronze Age which covers funerary chambers and secondary cists. The grave goods included polished axes of rare stones such as jadeite and fibrolite, stone boxes containing charcoal, cattle bones, and pottery. The area was clearly an important ritual center, venerated by the Bretons until fairly recent times, and adopted by the Romans for religious purposes. Christians added crosses and other symbols to the stones. In 1874, James Miln uncovered the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa one mile east of the village. The Musée Miln-Le Rouzic in Carnac has an important collection of artifacts.
CATEGORY: geology; geography DEFINITION: A type of natural well or reservoir, common in the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico, formed when a limestone surface collapses, exposing water underneath. Cenotes are the major source of water in Yucatán and they are associated with the cult of the rain gods, or Chacs. In ancient times, especially at the Mayasite of Chichén Itzá, precious objects, such as jade, gold, copper, and incense -- and human beings, usually children, were thrown into the cenotes as offerings. A survivor was believed to bring a message from the gods about the year's crops.
Cerro de las Mesas
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in southern Veracruz, Mexico, in the plains of the Papaloápan River that is a hybrid site of Pre-Classic and Classic periods. Dozens of earthen mounds are scattered over the surface in a seemingly haphazard manner, and the archaeological sequence is long and complex. The site reached its apogee in the Early Classic, when the stone monuments for which it is best known were carved. Most important are a number of stelae, some of which are carved in a low-reliefstyle recalling Late Formative Tres Zapotes, early lowland Maya, and Cotzumalhuapa. Cerro de las Mesas pottery, deposited in rich burial offerings of the Early Classic, is much like that of Teotihuacan, with slab-legged tripods. Potters made large, hollow, handmade figures of the gods and the most spectacular discovery on the site was a cache of 782 jade objects, many of Olmec workmanship. Cerro de las Mesas is famous for Remojadas-stylepottery figurines, found in great quantity as burial goods. Because the Classic occupation contains abundant Teotihuacan materials and two Maya Long Count dates (ad 468 and ad 533), it is usually interpreted as a redistributionpoint for materials from both Mexico and the Maya lowlands.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The name given an Eastern Neolithicculture of China, c 4000-3000 BC, found in the provinces of southern Shantung, Kiangsu, and northern Chekiang. Painted pottery with flowerlike designs existed that had certain affinities with pottery from western Neolithic Yang-Shao culture. Pottery on high pierced stands, fine flat polished axes, and decorative pendants in jade have also been found.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ts'ung CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A tubular, jade object, circular on the inside and enclosed in a rectangular body, made in various sizes and used for ritual purposes in ancient China. Cong were described in ancient Chinese texts as symbols of rank and were used as ritual objects primarily in the Shang (18th-12th century BC) and Chou (1111-255 BC) dynasties. They have been found in graves, arranged with bi disks around the corpses of the elite. The cong is thought to have symbolized Earth or possibly to have been an astronomical instrument.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ear-flare, eared (adj.) CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A large circular ear ornament, flared like the bell of a trumpet, which was often made of jade. The ear flare was an elaborate form of ear spool.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A large circular ear ornament, flared like the bell of a trumpet, which was often made of jade. The ear-flare was an elaborate form of ear spool.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Erh-li-t'ou CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: Type site of the Erlitouphase in Henan province, north China. The Erlitouphase represents the earliest known stage of the Chinese Bronze Age of c early 2nd millennium BC. The earliest bronzeritual vessels yet known from China, along with bronze blades and fine jades were also found. Two palace compounds have been excavated. The Erlitou remains provide the fullest evidence now available for the emergence of the Shangcivilization from its local forbears.
Fu Hao (fl. 12th c BC)
CATEGORY: person DEFINITION: A consort of the late Shang king, Wu-ting, the fourth Shang ruler of Anyang. Fu Hao is mentioned in many oracle bone texts and on bronzeritual vessels. Her tomb, discovered at AnyangXiaotun in 1976, is the only royal tomb of the Shangperiod found intact and the only one whose occupant could be identified (by the 500 bronze vessels). The tomb was a small pit without entrance ramps, but its furnishings were very rich. Besides the bronzeritual vessels, 200 bronze weapons and tools, 600 jades and stone carvings, 500 objects of carved bone and ivory, 4 bronze mirrors, 7000 cowrie shells (used as money), and 16 sacrificial victims were revealed. The discovery has an important bearing on the chronology of Shang art and the periodization of oracle bone texts.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: ko CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A dagger-ax, the characteristic weapon of the Chinese Bronze Age during the Shang Dynasty and then made from iron from the Zhou Dynasty onwards. The dagger-shaped bronzeblade, usually with a flat tang but occasionally with a shaft hole, was mounted perpendicular to the wooden shaft. The blade had a crosspiece parallel to the shaft to help hold it in place. Bronze Age blades and non-functional jade replicas of blades often appear as mortuary gifts in Shang tombs. The earliest ge yet known have come from Erlitou, c mid-2nd millennium BC. In the Eastern Zhouperiod the ge was sometimes combined with a spear, the ge blade at right angles to the spearhead, to form a ji. The ji was in existence by the late 6th or early 5th century BC. They are chopping implements.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A loosely applied term for a variety of metamorphosed basic igneous rocks of a green color: serpentine, olivine, jade, jadeite, nephrite, chloromelanite, etc. The general term is useful, though, since ancient man used these materials interchangeably, mainly for high quality or ceremonial polished stone axes, figures, and other objects. Jade was particularly popular in China and Middle America, considered to have magical properties. Greenstone was important in southeastern Australia and in New Zealand. The green color comes from the minerals chlorite, hornblende, or epidote.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: [Hung-shan] CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site in Liaoning Province, China, an the name of a Neolithicculture dated to c 3500-3000 BC. Hongshan had elaborate jade animal ornaments, large temple sites, female figurines, and masks.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Houma; modern Ch'u-wu CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An ancient city of China with extensive remains of an Eastern Chou city, possibly the site of Xintian, capital of the Chin state from 584-453 BC. Pollen analyses from western and southern Shansi reveal that several cereal plants were grown there as early as the 5th-3rd millennium BC. During the Hsi (Western) Chouperiod (1111-771 BC) the fief of Chin (now a colloquial and literary name for Shansi) was established in the area of Hou-ma along the Fen River. Several thousand stone and jade tablets were found at the site, inscribed with the texts of alliances between various Eastern Chou states, and date chiefly from the early 5th century BC. A very large foundry complex has been uncovered with over 30,000 fragments of clay molds and models for castingritual vessels. Chariot fittings, weapons, belt hooks, coins, and other bronzes were distributed over the site in such a way as to suggest that separate specialized workshops. The mold fragments show that Hou-ma used the section-mold method perfected in Shang foundries a thousand years earlier, as opposed to the cire perdue method.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A flat semicircular or arc-shaped jadependant known from Neolithic sites in China and made throughout the Bronze Age.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: An island north of Campeche, Yucatan, in the Gulf of Mexico, which was an important Late Classic Mayanecropolis. It is known for its high-quality portrait ceramic figurines. There are two minor ceremonial centers at Zayosal and El Zacpool, built of uncut stone and stucco. Burials are commonly flexed, wrapped, and sprinkled with cinnabar; a jadebead was commonly put in the mouth to serve as currency in the next world. Some cremations and urn burials also occur.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chin-ts'un CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A village near Luoyang, China, where rich tombs yielded 5th-2nd century BC carved jades and inlaid bronzeritual vessels, many of which are now in Western collections. The name Jincun is often applied to a style of Eastern Choubronze decor, also called the inlaystyle, characterized by inlays of gold, silver, malachite, turquoise, jade, and glass.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The most important Olmec ceremonial center, located in Tabasco, Mexico, and built around 1000 BC. The site occupies a small island, entirely surrounded by swamps, and lacking both farmland and building stone. The principal monument is a huge lobed pyramid of clay, the tallest of the Olmec sites, and subsidiary structure include platforms and courtyards. La Venta is famous for its Preclassic stonesculpture, buried pavements of serpentine blocks brought from about 100-160 km away, and offerings of carved jade including six jadeite axes. The important buildings were constructed from c 1000-600 BC; the site grew in importance after the abandonment of San Lorenzo, especially during the Middle Formativeperiod c 850-750 BC. The end of La Venta was violent, possibly caused by a conflict between the carrying capacity of the area and the large number of workers needed to construct the site's structures.
CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: A kind of knobbed earring made of jadeite, glass, or metal and typical of Sa Huynh in Vietnam. It is also found in the neighboring islands and was possibly traded in Southeast Asia.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: kogok CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Term meaning curved bead /jewel" a jade or jasperpendant made since the Neolithic but especially during the JomonYayoi and Kofun periods. These comma-shaped beads (with a perforation at the thick end) have been found in 4th-7th century AD tombs in Korea and Japan. They purportedly had magic properties. In the Tumulus/Kofunperiod (3rd-6th centuries) of Japan it was an imperial emblem. Many of these beads decorated the gold crowns of Silla (Korea). Its form may derive from prehistoric animal-tooth pendants."
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ma-chia-pang CATEGORY: site; culture DEFINITION: A Neolithicsite and culture of Jiaxing, China, near Shanghai. The people are descendants of the 5th millennium BC Ho-mu-tu in the region south of the Yangtze near Shanghai. The early phase yielded a radiocarbon date of c 4000 BC. It had close ties with the Ch'ing-lien-kang culture in southern Kiangsu, northern Chekiang, and Shanghai. The successor to the Majiabangculture is the 3rd millennium BC Liangzhu culture. The earliest examples of jade from the lower Yangtze River region appear in the latter phases of Ma-chia-pang culture (c 5100-3900 BC).
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Mancheng CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in Hebei province, China, where two Early Han-dynasty tombs are cut into a rock cliff -- the tombs of Liu Sheng (c 113 BC), Prince of Chung-shan, and his wife Tou Wan. Numerous grave goods, 2800 items, including jade, gold, silver, iron, glass articles; inlaid and gilded vessels, earthenware, lacquer ware, silk fabrics, and fine weapons are in the chambered tombs behind sealed doors. Both tombs were provided with large stores of food and wine and escorts of chariots and horses. The bodies of Liu Sheng and Dou Wan were dressed in shrouds made of jade plaques sewn together with gold thread, the first of some dozen jade shrouds thus recovered from Han tombs.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A complex of cultural materials which define a phase from 100 BC to 200 AD of Highland Mayan sites in the Late Pre-Classic period. It is the Late Formativeperiod of the Valley of Guatemala. Characteristic artifacts include engraved soft stone and monochrome ceramic vessels, as well as 'mushroom stones' (hollow stones set in an annularbase and capped with mushroom-shaped covers, which may have been used in rites with hallucinogenic mushrooms). A strong Izapan influence is evident. The huge Miraflores mounds located at Kaminaljuyú contained log tombs of incredible richness. In one, the deceased was accompanied by sacrificed followers or captives. As many as 340 objects were placed with him, including jademosaic masks, jadeear spools and necklaces, bowls of chloriteschist, and pottery vessels of great beauty.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: The more common form of jade, an iron calcium magnesium silicate of the amphibole mineral group. It is whitish to dark green in color, though it can be blue and black, prized as an ornamental stone for carving and jewelry. Jadeite is tougher and more compact. Sources of the material are known in China, Siberia, Pakistan, New Zealand, the Philippines, New Guinea and Australia, Poland, the Swiss Alps, Italy and Sicily, and North and South America.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Tenocelome, La Venta CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The first complexcivilization of Mesoamerica and its distinctive art style, beginning in the Early Preclassic (c 1200 BC) and ending c 400 BC. The farming population built and supported great ceremonial centers (La Venta, San Lorenzo, Tenochititlan, Tres Zapotes), importing tons of serpentine and basalt from outside the region. The Olmecs were great stone-carvers whose products ranged from basalt heads almost 2 meters high to small jade figurines in which the attributes of a baby-faced human being merge and blend with those of a jaguar to form a composite monster (were-jaguar). Carvings in this distinctive style have been discovered over much of Mexico and as far south as El Salvador and Costa Rica. They are also noted for a distinctive black, white-rimmed kaolinpottery. Olmec figurines and pottery have been found at various sites in central Mexico and contacts were strong with the cultures of Oaxaca before the construction of Monte Albán. The Olmec are also known for art in jadeite and shell and the first hieroglyphicwritingsystem. The Olmec golden age was the early part of the 1st millennium BC. They developed many of the religious traditions that were to sustain the Maya and other Mesoamerican civilizations such as Teotihuacán. They are not to be confused with historic Olmecs, who were a later group and may have helped destroy Teotihuacan, and whose tyranny was responsible for migration of many Mesoamerican peoples.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A Maya center in Chiapas, Mexico, which reached its height during the Late Classic, coming into power when Teotihuacán declined. There are inscribed monuments erected between 630-810 AD, after which the site was abandoned. The buildings have fine reliefdecoration modeled in stucco or carved on limestone panels and they are know for unusual features (pillar and lintel doorways, mansard roofing). A richly furnished tomb of the Classic period was found underneath the pyramid of the Temple of the Inscriptions, equally important to Tutankhamun's in Egypt (jade ornaments, a number of sacrificed retainers, and a massive, elaborately carved sarcophagus). A subterranean vaulted aqueduct joins the central palacecomplex, with its unique four-story tower, to the eastern terraces where the Temples of the Foliated Cross, the Cross, and the Sun are situated. Palenque was the westernmost of the great Classic Maya sites. Palenque was among the first major centers to suffer in the general Mayan collapse; it was abandoned in 810.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Classic Lowland Mayasite located on steep terraces on the Usumacinta River, Guatemala. There were ballcourts, temple pyramids, courtyards, and ceremonial sweatbaths (temescales). It is best known for the finely carved stone monuments in the form of hieroglyphic inscriptions on lintels, stelae, and wall panels. These art works were the main source in Tatiana Proskouriakoff's study which showed that certain hieroglyphs recorded historical rather than ceremonial events. Military themes occur frequently in the art; the seashells are from both the Pacific and Gulf coasts, and obsidian and jade attest to widespread trading. The terminal Long Count date for the site is 795 AD.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Sa Huynh CATEGORY: culture; site DEFINITION: Iron Age culture and site on the central coast of southern Vietnam, dating mainly from the 1st millennium BC and associated with potteryurn burials and rich artifact assemblages paralleled most closely in the Philippines, north Borneo, and Sulawesi. The culture may be associated with early Chamic (Austronesian) settlement in Vietnam or proto-Cham, and appears to be contemporary with, but separate from, the Dong-son culture of north Vietnam. Most assemblages known are from jar burials. Characteristic artifacts include lingling-o earrings and double-headed animal pendants of jadeite. It was active c 600 BC-c 100 AD.
CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: The earliest known stage of lowland Mayaculture, dated 2500-1300 BC. Most Swasey sites cluster in north Belize. The site at Cuello, a village of hunters and farmers, provides reasonably complete information. Maize, squash, root crops, and cacao were grown and timber structures were built on low platform foundations plastered with stucco. The dead were buried with imported seashells and jadeite beads. Swaseypottery developed into the Mamonstyle of the Maya Middle Pre-Classic period.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: taotie, t'ao-t'ie CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Chinese term for a Neolithicdesign put on jade objects of the Liangzhu culture and then used on bronze in the Shangperiod. In the Shang (18th-12th century BC) and Chou (1111-c 900 BC) dynasties, it was a zoomorphic monster mask seen full face with a gaping mouth and no lower jaw, the eyes, ears, and horns placed symmetrically on either side of a vertical frontal line. T'ao t'ieh often consisted of two kui (dragons facing each other, also symmetrical, with body in profile, winding tail, and clawed feet). The t'ao t'ieh is the most important of a number of such patterns used to decorate the bronze vessels.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Large and important site of the Maya people in the rain forest of Petén, Guatemala, dating to 800 BC. The earliest buildings were constructed in 800 BC when it was a simple farming village. It is the most thoroughly studied of the great lowland Maya sites and peaked c 600-800 AD in the Classic period (c 300-900 AD), when Tikal was one of the largest and politically most important Maya capitals. Studies of its architecture, tombs, art style, settlement pattern, subsistence and storage, and artifacts have accompanied an extensive mapping project. A population of between 45,000-75,000 occupied 120 square kilometers. Six statuesque limestone temple pyramids, giant paved plazas, shrines, palatial residences, ballcourts -- in all, 3,000 buildings, hundreds of monuments, stelae, altars are among the ruins. It is also the location of the oldest Maya monument known, 292 AD. Archaeologists have been able to work out the dynastic history of Tikal on the basis of stela inscriptions and have identified the tombs of individual listed rulers. Numerous elite burials containing exotic materials, such as jade, obsidian, and stingray spines occur within the Great Plaza and within some of the temple-pyramids. Commoners, by contrast, are usually buried under their houses. Archaeological data confirmed that there were close relations with Teotihuacán during the Early Classic period; Tikal was an important post in the great trading network that Teotihuacán had established in southern Mesoamerica.. Like other lowland Maya sites, Tikal was abandoned around 900 AD.
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A phosphate gemstone, sky blue to pale green, which forms as veins and nodules in the fissures of sandstone and trachyte. It was mined by the Egyptians from the late Predynastic period onwards and was almost as highly prized as jade in Mesoamerica. It was also highly prized for jewelry in western Asia and the American Southwest. Turquoise was obtained from the Sinai Peninsula before the 4th millennium BC in one of the world's first important hard-rockmining operations. It was transported to Europe through Turkey, probably accounting for its name, which is French for Turkish.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: [Hsi-pei-kang] CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Site in Hebei Province, China, of the Royal Cemetery of the Late Shang, with seven shaft tombs with wooden-chamber burials and human sacrifices. There are also over 2000 small pit-graves with human sacrifices. The hierarchy of burials at this and other cemeteries in the area reflected the social organization of the living. The large pit tombs, some nearly 42 feet deep, were furnished with four ramps and massive grave chambers for the kings. Only a few undisturbed elite burials have been unearthed, the most notable being that of Fu Hao, a consort of Wu-ting. Her relatively small grave contained 468 bronze objects of the Anyangstyle, 775 jades, carved bone objects, and more than 6,880 cowries -- suggesting how great the wealth placed in the far larger royal tombs must have been.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: tsung, ts'ung CATEGORY: artifact DEFINITION: Chinese artifact, a tube of jade with square outer and round inner perimeter, of unknown symbolism to the southern Neolithic cultures of China. Examples vary widely in size and proportions and have also been found at both Shang and Zhou (Chou) sites. They are often decorated with the taotie design. The earliest examples come from 3rd millennium BC.