Saturday, August 30, 2014

Chinese Jade Forms: Bi Disks

In China, jade is believed to have special properties. For centuries, green jade has been associated with rainwater, and plants, including crops such as corn.
Among its many art forms and art products, China is famous for its jade and hand held scrolls, just as Japan is famous for ikebana vases and the art of ikebana.

The bi disk is one of the oldest jade forms. The bi jade form is round and flat, and has a hole in the center. Some bi jade forms have carvings on them for decoration, while others are simple and have no adorning sculptures. Dragons are one of the popular sculptures found on bi disks.

You can see examples of these disks at the British Museum. Some of the pieces are inscribed with poetry. The disc in the image above is inscribed with a poem that was written by the Qianlong emperor. He was known as a collector of antiquities.

Many of the jade forms that came from the emperor's collection were marked with his seal or with his thoughts on the artwork. In the Hongshan culture, jade discs were placed on the bodies of the dead. They formed an important part of the final ceremony when a person passed from life to death.

Source:, "Jade Bi",

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