Jade has been the most precious of all stones throughout Chinese history. For millennia it has been used to make tools and weapons, jewelry and ritual objects. It is extremely hard, and its seeming indestructibility has made it a symbol of longevity.
Flat circles of jade with a hole through the center are known as bi discs (pronounced BEE), a form that meant different things in different eras. Although found in tombs dating as far back as the Neolithic Liangzhu culture (circa 2500 BCE), the term “bi” first appeared in writing in 300 BCE, long after the discs were first made. Sometimes worn as decoration, bi discs were considered to symbolize heaven during the later years of the Zhou dynasty (1050-221 BCE).
A milky gray-green jade bi disc is paired with an incised metal coin and suspended from a carnelian-hued carved bead.
2" diam pendant, 26" cotton cord.