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Jade Tube Carved with Cicada Motif
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2023.04.21 08:57:21

Dimensions: L. 9.1 cm, Dia. 1.5 cm
Period: Western Zhou dynasty(1046-771 B.C.)
Provenance: Unearthed from the No.M2001 burial pit at the royal burial complex of the Guo state, Sanmenxia, Henan province, 1990

Of a tubular form, symmetric motifs at the two ends, the interior and exterior were successively adorned with patterns of bow-string in relief, cicada, lozenge, the central part left plain; the patterns were popular in Shang dynasty.

The earliest jade cicada dates from the Neolithic Age. The cicada grows from the underground pupa which was once a larva. The larva turns into a pupa in the soil, and the pupa grows into a cicada after coming out of the earth, just like the deceased begins a new circling life, thereby implying a rebirth. Based on the symbolization of the cicada’s life, a jade cicada was made and placed into the mouth of the deceased to signify a transformation of life, and to wish a reincarnation. Wearing a jade cicada symbolized the noble character.

The present jade cicada was archaeologically found in the No.M2001 burial pit of the Guo state cemetery dating to the late Western Zhou period, the tomb occupant was identified to be Guo Ji, king of the Guo state. Thanks to the high grade, the cemetery yielded abundant burial goods, as many as 3,200 pieces, including quite a lot of precious cultural relics, such as bronze ritual vessels and musical instruments, weapons, chariots, horses, and jade wares, etc.