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Jade Cong and Bi

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Jade Cong and Bi - very interesting objects as they were made in a time and place (Liangzhu in the late Neolithic) where no tools were available to actually carve and drill True Jade or Nephrite, and yet there are many examples of beautifully carved Bi and Cong found in graves. 

I agree that they might represent heaven and earth, could this be a yin/yang type concept that predates ‘yin’ and ‘yang’? 



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The importance of findings from the Neolithic Age in China has been greatly underestimated. Cong and bi unearthed from the Liangzhu historical site represent a unity of values in the region. The complexity of society in Liangzhu was on par with that of a country. This is the origin of Chinese civilization

Colin Renfrew, British archaeologist

The 5,300-year-old, 6.5-kilogram "King of Cong” found in Liangzhu, the whole article Here from the ChinaDaily newspaper is a very interesting overview of the highly developed ancient city of Liangzhu.





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Posted (edited)


Occasionally bi were decorated with the standardized icon of a profile bird perched on top

of a stand and a stepped altar (Figure 2; also see colorpls nos. 4-11-14, pp.

82-89). The altar, probably simulating the one used by Liangzhu elite at

stepped altar cemetery sites, takes a slightly rhomboid rectangular shape,

flaring at the top, with three indented ridges suggesting tiers.


The altar part is occasionally filled with a motif simulating the graph for sun,

by circular and slice shape emblems symbolizing sun and moon, or by a

winged disk emblem symbolizing the bird in flight, and by two eyes within a

mask shape (see above Figure 2). In practice, the profile bird on an altar is

associated only with the imagery of the bi (see Figure 2); it is the 

most consistent attribute decorating this circular disk.










Cong or prismatic cylinders, by contrast to the bi, take a more

complicated shape: an inside cylinder and outside square (see Figure 3).

nner cylinder shapes are frequently characterized as two cones meeting at

their middle. This conical shape results after two solid drills worked from

opposite sides meet, usually in rough circular edges that are left unpolished

(see Figure 4). The cone, nonetheless, always remains open as more cylinder

and less cone in shape (also see e.g., Childs-Johnson 2001: no. 2, fig. 2A)


Cong come in tall, medium, and short sizes (see Catalog nos. 1-2, 5-7). Shorter versions are usually characterized by wide mouths whose inner cylinder is not in the shape of a cone, but polished without remains of a midriff identifying opposing drill lines (Figure 5) (Childs-Johnson 2001: no. 2, pp. 60-1).




Edited by Bindi

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A couple of things I notice as I’m looking at the above posts, look at the beautifully carved and perfectly repeated detail on the “King of Cong”, versus the rough and slightly irregular hand drawn scratching onto the bi. This suggests, at least to me, that the people who buried these bi with them hadn’t made them, though they had added to them as best they could with the tools available to them at the time (Palaeolithic, 5000 years ago). 

The second thing I notice is more subjective, I have come across the idea that the central channel is a square tubelike channel, which when functioning properly has a cone like energy field extending from the floor to above the navel, much like Barbara Brennan’s image below. Not surprisingly she sees a cone extending above the head as well, and this image of square tube and meeting cones is certainly portrayed in the cong, though of course their makers might have had something different in mind. 


The third thing that drew my attention is that the images carved onto the Cong suggest human nature dominating animal nature, by which I understand our higher Self needs to overcome our animal nature. I think this is what we’re striving for? 

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