Bi – Nephrite Jade

I am a green nephrite jade Bi from the Hongshan culture dating back to 2,000-3,000 millennium B.C. (Neolithic Period). My color and texture indicate that I am from Outer Mongolia Northern China. I have ridges on my surface that were created with a pendulum, the tool of choice those many years ago.

Because of my esteemed age, I have a very prestigious place in the Rear Gallery of The Maridon Museum. You can find me in the Time-Line Exhibit as one of its oldest residents. I am not alone in this prestigious area. To my left is another Bi of distinction from the same era but from the Liangzhu culture, which was the last Neolithic jade culture in the Yangtze River Delta of China. To my right is a piece that was used to make a Bi. As you can see, holes were drilled on the two edges. These pieces were used to attach similar pieces to create a Bi. We are all from the same era and hewn from Nephrite jade.

Now that we know what we are, the question arises…..what are we? What is our significance? Bi’s were thought to have been a symbol of the sky or heaven. They were buried with the dead to accompany them to the afterworld. They were used in ceremonies and to symbolize ranks. Over the years, the symbolic Bi has been used in works of art and jewelry.

Today, you can visit me and my rare companions the next time you come into the museum.