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Oblong Jade Pendant (6th – 5th century BCE)

For Artwork in Focus we explore individual artworks, critiquing their style and discussing their socio-political context. Today we look at Oblong Jade Pendant.

About the Work

Titles : Oblong Jade Pendant
Medium : Translucent, evenly white nephrite with traces of cinnabar
Dimensions : H. 11.7 x W. 2.7 x Thickness 0.9 cm (4 5/8 x 1 1/16 x 3/8 in.)
Location : Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Ritual Objects in ancient China

In ancient China, it was often ritual to bury people’s belongings with them. It was especially common  practice in the case of the elite. The jade pendant presented here is one such object.

The pendant is decorated with a dragon motif, common to decorative objects from ancient China. The Museum’s digital catalogue describes the pendant as:

“Translucent, evenly white jade, fashioned into a tapering biconvex pendant with notched edges. One side is decorated with a tightly organized relief pattern of dragon-headed serpents.”

Other Details

Oblong Jade Pendant is housed in the Harvard Art Museums in Room 1740. It is part of the museum’s collection of Arts of Ancient China from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. This piece has been at the Fogg Art Museum since 1943.


To learn more about iconic artworks and their socio-political context, visit Artwork in Focus.

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